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The Straits Times
Jan 31, 2023
A masseuse, posing as another woman, contacted her client who was mildly intellectually disabled over the phone and duped him into giving her $39,010 over 159 occasions.
On Tuesday, Seah Bee Leng, 60, pleaded guilty to two cheating charges and was sentenced to a year in jail.
Her victim, who has an IQ of between 50 and 70, was working as an office attendant at the time. Further details about him have been redacted from court documents.
The man first got to know Seah when she was working at a massage parlour at Pearls Centre shopping mall near Chinatown.
He continued to engage her services after she moved to another parlour at the nearby People’s Park Centre.
In October 2018, Seah pretended to be a woman called Lily and contacted the man, claiming to be “Seah’s friend”.
Over time, the victim became romantically interested in Lily and continued to chat with her over the phone and through messages on WhatsApp.
Seah, posing as Lily, then started asking him for money.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jordon Li told the court: “In order to pursue a romantic relationship with Lily, the victim complied with the accused’s requests for money and transferred money to various bank accounts that Lily had provided.
“The accused, posing as Lily, also told the victim that she was a divorcee with a 10-year-old daughter. She lied to the victim that she had a daughter so that the victim would not ask to visit her at home and thus discover that Lily did not exist.”
Between Oct 31 and Nov 15 in 2018, the man transferred $6,980 in total to three bank accounts, including one belonging to Seah.
The other two accounts belonged to her friends. She had borrowed money from them and asked the man to make the transfers as repayments.
The victim transferred another $32,030 to multiple bank accounts between Nov 30, 2018, and Nov 19, 2019.
The DPP said: “(One of the accounts) belonged to the accused’s boyfriend... She had asked the victim to transfer monies to this bank account, as she had asked her boyfriend to help her to buy daily necessities or food.”
The transfers to the other bank accounts were repayments to her friends, he added.
Court documents did not disclose how Seah’s offences came to light, but she was later handed the cheating charges in a district court.
To date, she has made restitution of $10,000.
Seah’s bail was set at $15,000 on Tuesday, and she is expected to surrender herself at the State Courts on Feb 21 to begin serving her sentence.
For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.