Woman tricked housemate into lending her over $400k, gets 20 months' jail for 'layers of deception'

Nadine Chua
The Straits Times
Feb 6, 2024

A woman had multiple documents forged, including bank and lawyers’ letters, so she could appear wealthy in a ruse to get her housemate to lend her money.

As a result, he lent her more than 4.6 billion rupiah (S$393,400) and $10,000 from March to April 2022 on 72 occasions.

On Feb 6, Indonesian Tjheng A Liem, 47, was sentenced to 20 months’ jail.

She had pleaded guilty in November 2023 to five charges of using a forged document as a genuine one.

Tjheng has since made restitution of more than 4.6 billion rupiah to the victim.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Edwin Ho said the male victim, 61, and Tjheng got to know each other as they were living in the same unit in People’s Park Complex in Chinatown.

They became friends and Tjheng told him that she had excess money from selling a flat as well as selling shares she owned in a logistics company.

She lied that she owned a condominium unit and that her bank accounts were frozen by the authorities as her taxes were overdue.

The prosecution said Tjheng told all these things to her housemate, whom she believed to be gullible, so he would think she was wealthy.

Tjheng subsequently asked him to lend her money as she had personal debts to settle and needed to help her daughter who she claimed was facing trouble with the authorities in Batam.

The victim believed her lies and was willing to help her as he hoped they would eventually do business together, said the DPP.

To sustain the victim’s belief that she was wealthy so he would continue to lend her money, Tjheng instructed an individual in Indonesia known as “Lukito” to help her forge multiple documents.

It was not stated in court documents if legal action has been taken against Lukito.

Between January and April 2022, Tjheng instructed Lukito to forge multiple documents, including bank and lawyers’ letters and a title deed to prove that she owned a condominium unit.

She then showed these documents to the victim to convince him that she was wealthy.

After he lent her money on multiple occasions, she constantly made excuses to delay returning the funds she owed him, said the prosecutor.

As the accused constantly came up with excuses to delay repayment, the victim began to suspect she was cheating him. He made a police report in September 2022.

In mitigation, Tjheng, who was unrepresented, told the court she was remorseful and sought leniency.

In meting out the sentence, District Judge Elton Tan said Tjheng leveraged the friendship she had with the victim to carry out the scheme to deceive him.

He said her offences did not consist of a single lie but rather, layers of deception, adding: “This shows not only the overall criminality of the accused’s behaviour but also a degree of sophistication in the deception.”

If convicted of using a forged document as a genuine one, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and be liable to a fine.

The Straits Times

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