He read an advisory on an advertisement website warning users against fake offers for sexual services. Instead of exercising caution as a user, he decided to pull off such a scam.
On Monday (25 January), Lee Chao Hunt, a 19-year-old polytechnic student, was sentenced to 18 months of probation for cheating victims through the scam.
As part of his probation, Lee will have to complete 180 hours of community service and observe a curfew. His mother and sister were also required to put up a bond of $5,000.
Lee pleaded guilty to five charges involving cheating five victims of over a total of $1,000. Another 12 counts of cheating, involving another 11 men and $2,200, were taken into consideration for sentencing.
Lee created an account on the website Locanto in 2016 in order to meet potential romantic interests.
While browsing the website, he came across an advisory warning users against falling for scams by those offering fake porn videos or sexual services.
From December 2016, Lee created two other Locanto accounts pretending to be an 18-year-old woman and a 19-year-old woman offering sexual services. A total of 16 victims came across these advertisements and contacted Lee.
Using the pseudonyms of “Jess” and “Alicia”, Lee promised to have sex with the victims on the condition that the victims each transfer him $200. In some cases, Lee promised to send the victims pornographic videos of “Jess” or “Alicia” having sex with others.
Lee did send some of the victims pornographic videos, but these were what he already possessed.
After receiving the money from the victims, Lee either ignored their messages or arranged meetings but failed to turn up. He then deleted the conversations from his phone.
On 1 December 2017, Lee’s bank account was frozen during police investigations. Panicking, Lee deleted all evidence of the scams from his phone, including closing one of his Locanto accounts. The other account had been earlier suspended by Locanto.
Lee admitted that he spent the money that he had cheated from the victims on cigarettes, alcohol, clothing, and nightclubs. He said he had resorted to scamming as he could not afford the lifestyle that he desired.
For each count of cheating, Lee could have been jailed up to three years, or fined, or both. He has made full restitution of the money to the victims.
Other Singapore stories