SINGAPORE — He posed as a woman in order to cheat a long-time friend into sending money to him.
The friend sent close to $50,000 to Chia Han Lin, 26, to buy a condominium unit, and even transmitted his nude photos, thinking that he was in a relationship with a woman. Chia managed to fool his friend for at least four months.
On Tuesday (22 May), Chia was jailed one year and five months on four counts of cheating and one count of affray for an unrelated incident.
The limousine driver had known his friend since they were students of the Institute of Technical Education in 2009. They continued their friendship after graduation and went on holidays together several times.
Chia decided to cheat his male friend as he was in need of money. He told the man that his female secretary, whom he called “Cindy”, was single and looking for a boyfriend.
He gave “Cindy’s” number to his friend, who began messaging “her”. The number belonged to Chia, who was using a prepaid card to pose as “Cindy”.
Over time, “Cindy” messaged the man to inform him that she had purchased a condominium at Pasir Ris for both of them and had paid for the down payment.
“Cindy” claimed that she did not have enough money for the condominium and asked for money to help with payments on several occasions.
In November 2016, the friend transferred a total of $48,100 to Chia over several transactions without realising that he had been scammed.
During this period, the friend did not once speak to “Cindy” on the phone.
The friend later suspected that Chia was impersonating “Cindy” and made a police report on 16 August 2017 about the scam. In his police report, he said he had sent naked photos to “Cindy” as well.
Chia returned $11,000 of the money that he had cheated to his friend.
In a separate incident on 6 October last year, Chia got into a fight with a driver after both refused to give way to each other on the road and they ended up exchanging blows.
In a previous hearing, Chia’s lawyer Wee Hong Shern said that his client had been a victim of a scam himself, which caused him to incur a $172,000 debt.