Chinese National Heads to Prison in Singapore Over Gambling Scam
A Chinese national who scammed two people in Singapore out of millions of dollars is off to prison for the next 12 years. At her sentencing, the presiding judge called 41-year-old Wu Hong a “heartless con artist” who led a fake investment scam she told her victims would fund Chinese gamblers coming to the country.
Wu began laying the groundwork for her scam in 2013 when she met her first victim, Tam Kwong Yoeng, in a bar. It would take another three years before she launched the fraud, which also ensnared a 61-year-old victim, Soh Choon Heong.
The Strait Times reports that Wu began convincing them to hand over money in 2016, keeping the ruse going until 2019. When she was unable to produce any returns for her investors, they grew increasingly suspicious before finally contacting the authorities.
Beginning of the End
Tam gave up over SGD1.4 million (US$1.05 million) over the course of the scam, while Soh turned over SGD734,000 (US$550,133). Some of the money Soh put in came from her friends, including well-known media personalities.
The scheme involved a tale of gambling on behalf of unidentified Chinese gamblers for which the investors would receive huge returns. However, time after time, Wu collected more money without showing any benefits. Tam admitted that he had been completely fooled by Wu, voluntarily giving up the money because he trusted her completely. He never asked for a receipt and, even after he began to grow suspicious, continued to turn over more money.
It wasn’t until his patience wore out that Tam took action. He began recording the conversations he had with Wu, which he then turned over to authorities in 2018. At the time, an investigation began, but no action was taken.
Not until February 2020 did the authorities intervene. That was after Soh came forward with her own claims and Wu finally found herself in the hands of the police.
Wu appeared in court on charges of fraud but claimed that the pair was lying and only trying to frame her for crimes she didn’t commit. The judge didn’t buy it, finding her guilty on five charges of fraud.
That led to a return trip to a courtroom this week. Wu appeared for her sentencing, where the judge called her a “heartless con artist” who deserves to be behind bars. That’s where she’ll be for the next 12 years. It could have been worse, as each fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and monetary fines.
Loot Box Lust
It isn’t uncommon for fraudsters to use the allure of gambling to concoct fraudulent schemes. What’s uncommon, though, is someone as young as 16 having the wherewithal to do it.
That’s the story of an unidentified 16-year-old in Singapore who scammed his friends out of money. He told them he had a lot of money in cryptocurrency investments, and that he could help them do the same.
He was able to convince his friends to give him SGD330,000 (US$248,884), which he spent gambling online and buying loot boxes in video games. That was five years ago, and the scammer finally appeared in court last year to answer for his crimes.
He initially faced 84 charges but pleaded guilty to three. Because of his age, he is only serving a short stint of a couple of years in prison, avoiding the maximum penalty he could have received.
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