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Shaffiq Idris Alkhatib
The Straits Times
Thursday, Mar 9, 2017
A pair of conmen cheated women into buying smartphones by making them think it was for their work, but then took the devices and sold them after the women handed them over for safekeeping.
Chee Wee Siang, 29, a chef's assistant, and his accomplice, Wong Jun Siang, would split the proceeds of the phone sales between them. Between September and November 2015, the duo cheated four women of a total of $14,340.
Yesterday, Chee was jailed for 10 months after pleading guilty to four counts of cheating involving $5,240. Nine other charges were considered in sentencing.
Wong pleaded guilty to his crimes on Dec 1 last year and was sentenced to four years' jail and a $2,000 fine.
The court heard that Chee got to know Wong in March 2014. Chee later helped Wong in a business which recruited women to exchange text messages with prospective clients, and then go on dates with them.
The duo later came up with the ruse to collect the phones.
Chee and Wong also told their victims that their phone bills would be paid for by their company, known as Pixomuse Solutions, and the subscriber's name would then be changed to that of the firm.
The men lied, saying that Pixomuse would hold onto the phones until there were customers. Instead, they sold them off and split the cash.
The court heard that each woman bought between two and five iPhones. One also bought an Alcatel tablet. The 14 devices cost the victims between $2,096 and $5,776 each.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Leong Kit Yu yesterday asked District Judge Ong Chin Rhu to mete out a jail term of between 10 and 13 months, noting that Chee cheated each victim more than once.
However, Chee's lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan said his client was not the mastermind behind the ruse, and asked for eight months' jail.
Chee could have been jailed for up to 10 years and also fined for each count of cheating.