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The Straits Times
Jan 6, 2023
A woman pretended to be a lawyer and cheated three people, including her former boyfriend’s mother, out of over $62,000 in total.
Siti Suhailah Halil, 28, was jailed for two years on Friday after she pleaded guilty to three cheating charges.
She started her crime spree in December 2017 when she lied to her former boyfriend’s mother, claiming to be a lawyer.
Siti knew that, at the time, the 52-year-old woman needed legal assistance over Central Provident Fund-related issues involving her late parents.
Siti was also aware that the woman was then going through a divorce.
She told her that she could provide legal assistance in exchange for fees.
Over at least 81 occasions between Jan 3 and Dec 31, 2018, the victim transferred a total of $27,980 to Siti’s bank account.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Thaker said: “On Oct 4, 2019, (the victim) confronted the accused and asked (her) to provide proof that she was a lawyer. The accused was unable to do so.”
The older woman then alerted the police, and Siti has since given her $1,900 as restitution.
Court documents did not state what happened next.
Siti struck again around November 2021 when she lied to the second victim – her husband’s 28-year-old friend – that she was a lawyer at Dentons Rodyk law firm.
She also told the man that she could help him get a job there.
The DPP told the court: “At all material times, the accused was not an employee of the law firm. The accused was also not a qualified lawyer.
“The accused told (the second victim) that to be considered for the job at the law firm, he would first have to complete certain legal and management courses with (private education institutions) Kaplan Singapore and Exena Learning Hub.”
Siti claimed that she could help the second victim enrol in those courses.
She also said he would have to transfer cash to her for purported course enrolment fees.
Believing her, the victim transferred a total of $32,460 to her bank account over at least 36 occasions between December 2021 and March 2022.
The man later sensed something was amiss when he did not receive any invoices or receipts for the payments.
He contacted the law firm around April 2022 and found out that Siti was not working there.
He also contacted Kaplan and was told that it had no record of his enrolment.
He then made a police report.
Siti gave him $1,600 as restitution in June 2022.
The prosecutor said she duped her third victim – a 28-year-old acquaintance – by using the same method she used to cheat her husband’s friend.
The third victim transferred $1,680 to her bank account on at least two occasions in April 2022.
He later made a police report, and she has not made any restitution to him.
For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.