Bankrupt man admits to cheating ex-colleague of almost $4M using forged court documents

11-Jan-2019 Intellasia | Yahoo News Singapore | 6:00 AM Print This Post

To cheat a former bank colleague, a man concocted an elaborate plan to forge court documents including travelling to Malaysia to obtain counterfeit court seals.

Cheong Eh Meng ended up cheating almost $4 million from his 65-year-old ex-colleague.

On Wednesday (9 January) at the State Courts, Cheong, 55, pleaded guilty to 29 counts of cheating, forging a record of a court of justice and possessing a counterfeit seal. Another 191 counts of a similar nature will be taken into consideration for sentencing. One count of committing a criminal conspiracy with his wife was stood down.

Cheong and his ex-colleague, Eddy Tan, were colleagues who lost touch after Cheong was retrenched in 1997. They resumed contact in 2011 after Cheong was declared a bankrupt on 27 October 2000.

In May 2011, Cheong persuaded Tan to participate in an investment scheme which purportedly generated revenue from casino games overseas.

In June, Cheong lied to Tan that he had been detained by customs officials in the Philippines and could not collect “investment proceeds”. He deceived Tan into transferring $6,200 to his wife under the pretence of securing his release. In fact, Cheong used the money to gamble in the Philippines.

Over the next 26 months, Cheong continued his deception by lying to Tan that his investment returns were frozen in overseas bank accounts due to outstanding debts, fines and costs arising from other legal proceedings.

To support his lies, Cheong forged court orders from the Supreme Court and then-Subordinate Courts. He altered court orders that he had received by using a software, and inserted names of Supreme Court judges that he found online.

He forged other official documents by scanning his bankruptcy documents with official logos, letterheads and signatures. To hide flaws in the documents, he would use correction tape. He then pasted the template onto a single piece of paper before photocopying the letter with the content he made up.

Cheong also sent fraudulent text messages to Tan from various unknown numbers purporting to be from representatives of foreign government authorities.

He even travelled to Malaysia to procure counterfeit seals bearing the words “Supreme Court” and “Subordinate Court”, which he would use to stamp his forged court orders.

Believing Cheong, Tan transferred $3,949,989 to him over several transactions for more than two years.

Only $153,819.30 was recovered during investigations, along with seven watches, according to the prosecution. No restitution has been made for the remaining sum.

Cheong’s case will be heard again 12 February for his mitigation and sentencing.


Category: Singapore

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