He wooed four women he befriended on dating websites into parting with $55,000 to fuel his gambling habit and was jailed 14 months in 2013.
Undeterred by his prison stint, Peter Aw Boo Cheong resorted to using online dating platforms to know six other women. He sweet-talked the women into handing him $436,938, and lied to them that they were mostly for investment.
But the recalcitrant conman, now 47, used all the money for his personal expenses, including to settle gambling debts.
At the State Courts on Thursday (21 February), Aw, a permanent resident from Malaysia, pleaded guilty to 17 out of 41 cheating charges. The remaining counts will be considered for his sentencing next Tuesday (26 February).
The prosecution is asking for a total jail term of five years, in line with the amount involved.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Hsiao Tien said, “The accused has shown himself to be a recalcitrant serial cheat who is bent on cheating women for his personal benefits.”
Pretended to be experienced trader
In November last year, Aw had pleaded guilty to 14 cheating charges, involving five of the six women, aged 39 to 48.
But after local broadsheet The Straits Times reported about the case, the sixth victim, a 50-year-old woman who was also duped, came forward. The prosecution then proceeded with additional charges against Aw.
In 2016, Aw met the 50-year-old victim via dating app Tinder. He used a pseudonym and was known to the victim as “Daniel”. They entered into a romantic relationship.
Aw portrayed himself as an experienced trader in silver and told the victim that he could reap high profits for her. But Aw was never a trader nor had he ever made any investments in foreign currencies and commodities as he had claimed to the victim.
Believing his tall tales, the victim parted with $17,250 in May 2016.
Two days later, Aw told her that he needed cash to help a client for an investment, and that he would get back the money and repay her in three days. Believing him, she handed over $20,000, but never saw her money again.
The next month, Aw also lied that he needed $20,000 to help a client buy a horse in Perth.
In all, Aw duped the victim into parting with $68,250 over seven occasions between May and June 2017. She has yet to get a single cent back.
DPP Tan said, “The accused practised the same modus operandi on all his victims, similar to that in his antecedents (in 2013).
“He exploited his victims’ interests in him as either a close friend or a romantic partner, as well as their misplaced trust in him as an experienced and credible trader. This is clearly a premeditated and deliberate course of conduct to deceive his victims into delivering monies to him.”
Aw has made a “minimal restitution” of $500 to one victim, said the DPP.
For each of his 17 cheating charges, Aw faces up to 10 years’ jail along with a fine.
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