Woman, 67, cheated man of $145,500 by telling him she supplied goods to SAF eMart

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
Aug 2, 2023

A woman cheated a man of $145,500 after duping him into believing he was investing in a business that purportedly supplied goods to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) eMart.

According to the online NS Portal, the SAF eMart is a kit replacement system that allows servicemen to buy items such as personal equipment with their allocated credits. This can be done online or through walk-in transactions at places such as eMart outlets at selected SAF camps.

The scammer, Jahabar Nachia Mohamed Abdullah, 67, was sentenced to 28 months’ jail on Wednesday for cheating Mr Kasmuri Hambali on 10 occasions from March 30 to Sept 3, 2015.

In July, Deputy Principal District Judge Luke Tan convicted Jahabar of 10 charges of cheating after a trial.

She has since made restitution of $7,200, causing a total loss of $138,300.

Mr Kasmuri was the teacher-in-charge of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) at his school when he got to know Jahabar in 2000.

The English-language teacher had bought items from Jahabar’s shops in Beach Road for his NCC students.

Some time before March 30, 2015, she asked him if he wanted to do some business, adding that she had been supplying military-related items to SAF eMart.

Jahabar told Mr Kasmuri she had been supplying goods to the SAF eMart for “a very long time”, and she wanted to increase her capital so she could buy more products to supply to it, Deputy Public Prosecutor Foong Ke Hui said.

DPP Foong added: “The accused was never an authorised supplier to SAF eMart, and none of the payments by Kasmuri was used to invest in a business that supplies goods to SAF eMart.”

Mr Kasmuri, who believed Jahabar’s lies, decided to invest in the business and gave her a cheque for $12,000 on March 30, 2015. In return, Jahabar promised to pay him $15,000 by June 30 that year.

He continued handing over cash and more cheques until late 2015. Jahabar issued handwritten acknowledgement slips to Mr Kasmuri, which stated the amounts of return that he could expect from this purported investment.

She also issued post-dated cheques to him, creating the impression that she was fully capable of repaying him, said the DPP.

When Jahabar failed to do so, Mr Kasmuri messaged her to ask when she could repay him, but she kept delaying the repayments. He made a police report on Nov 4, 2015.

The scammer, who was represented by lawyer K. Jayakumar Naidu, had claimed during her trial that the sums of money from Mr Kasmuri were loans to help her fulfil customers’ orders at one of her Beach Road shops.

She had also claimed she could not repay Mr Kasmuri because three of her overseas customers had failed to pay her.

DPP Foong said: “She gave inconsistent answers and was quick to come up with excuses and embellish her testimony when confronted with inconsistencies... The accused’s (version of events) evolved over time, alternating between a loan and an investment.”

The prosecutor added that Jahabar’s contradictions made her an unreliable witness.

Mr Naidu told the court on Wednesday that his client intends to appeal against her conviction and sentence. She was then offered bail of $30,000.

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

The Straits Times

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