Man inspired by Crimewatch programme jailed for Carousell scams

Man in handcuffs
Photo from Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Inspired by a Crimewatch TV episode about Carousell scams, an unemployed couple decided to commit the same offences.

Muhammad Haadii Asmadi, 30, was jailed 10 months on Monday (18 May) after he pleaded guilty to nine out of 24 charges of cheating and abetting by conspiracy to cheat via the online marketplace platform, with the remaining considered for sentencing.

His fiancee, Sushilawati Selamat, also 30, was earlier sentenced to eight months’ jail.

Between September 2018 and March last year, some 24 police reports were lodged for Carousell scams involving Nintendo Switch game consoles, Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers, DJI Mavic Pro 2 drones, Nacon Revolution Pro 2 game controllers and DJI Osmo pocket handheld stabilised cameras.

Investigations traced the scams to the couple, who had used four Carousell accounts to advertise products which they had no intention of delivering. Whenever one account was suspended for fraudulent activity, the two would create another.

At the time, the couple were unemployed and needed money for their daily needs.

The couple decided to make quick money through Carousell scams after watching an episode of Crimewatch.

After creating the Carousell accounts, the duo would direct prospective buyers to make direct bank transfers into Sushilawati’s bank accounts.

As part of their conspiracy, Sushilawati also purchased an ink stamp bearing the name “Shopanddrop” which she used to stamp on invoices requested by victims.

A total of nine victims were listed in the statement of facts which Haadii admitted to. He obtained a total of $9,454 from his scams and only made a compensation of $299.

Speaking on behalf of Haadii, his lawyer Caryn Lee said that her client’s family had chased him out of the house in 2017, forcing him to live on Changi Beach, as he could not afford Singapore’s “high cost of living”.

He lost his job around September 2018, when he began offending as he was driven by financial desperation, said the lawyer.

Haadii’s family has since forgiven him and is ready to take him home after he serves his sentence, said Lee.

The lawyer, who asked for nine months’ jail, said that Haadii would like to spend Hari Raya with his family since he had not been able to do so for the past three years.

“He made restitution of what he can, if he could he would have made more, but unfortunately he does not have the financial capacity at this point in time,” said Lee.

For cheating, Haadii could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined.

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