Unemployed man jailed 14 months for cheating woman of $8,700

Ong Tian Lai swindled a woman of $8,725 in less than a week.
Ong Tian Lai swindled a woman of $8,725 in less than a week.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - An unemployed man won the trust of a 62-year-old woman by selling her supermarket vouchers at a $27 discount before swindling her of $8,725 in less than a week.

Ong Tian Lai was sentenced to 14 months' jail on Tuesday (April 10) after pleading guilty to two cheating charges involving $4,438. Four similar charges involving $4,287 were considered during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor S. Krishnan told the court that Ong befriended Madam Chong You Chim, 62, at her workplace in Turf Club Avenue on March 1 last year.

On the same day, Ong offered to sell her $60 worth of NTUC FairPrice vouchers at a discounted price of $48, which Madam Chong accepted.

At a second meeting, Ong sold Madam Chong $100 worth of Sheng Siong vouchers for $85.

The transactions allowed Ong to gain her trust, said Mr Krishnan.

On March 17 that year, Ong told Madam Chong that he had $2,840 worth of FairPrice vouchers which he would sell her for $2,288. Madam Chong agreed, unaware that Ong did not have the vouchers.

Three days later, Ong lied again, saying he had FairPrice vouchers worth $3,800. She then paid him $2,150 for them.

Madam Chong later realised she had been cheated and lodged a police report on March 23.

Ong used the money for his personal expenses and no restitution has been made, said Mr Krishnan.

Ong's lawyer asked for the sentence to be deferred. Ong was offered bail of $15,000.