Indian-origin man gets more than 7 years in jail for duping people in Singapore

Singapore, Jan 22 (IANS) A 53-year-old Indian-origin man was sentenced to seven years and four months’ jail on Monday for cheating 20 people, including his family friends and acquaintances, of SG$ 2.5 million ($ 1.8 million) in Singapore.

Murali Krishnan Naidu was earlier convicted of 17 counts of cheating linked to nine people, and another 43 charges, including those involving the remaining victims, were considered during sentencing, The Straits Times reported.

In an investment scam between 2008 and 2013, Naidu told victims that their money would be invested in a money lending business set up by his wife.

According to court documents, most of the victims had drawn from their retirement savings to fund the “investments”.

The prosecution said that in August 2006, Naidu’s wife was the sole proprietor of a licensed money lending company known as San Tee Credit (STC) where he was a manager. Having worked with a money lending company before, Naidu knew that it was common for such companies to borrow cash from investors through investment agreements.

A 69-year-old woman, who was one of Naidu’s victims, had entered into six investment agreements totalling SG$335,000 with STC, having funded the investments with her life savings.

According to the prosecution, Naidu made false representations to the victims by saying their monies would be invested in STC’s money lending business. The victims were promised returns between 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent that would be paid out monthly, along with a repayment of their investment capital one year from the date of the investment agreement.

Naidu then induced his victims to hand over their money, but completely stopped paying dividends to them in early 2013, and to date, it is unclear how he utilised the victims’ money, the court was told.

Screenings by the Registry of Moneylenders showed STC had not concluded any moneylending transactions between 2011 and 2013.

“Despite the absence of any business activities undertaken by STC, the accused continued to pay the requisite fees to renew STC’s moneylending licence with the Registry of Moneylenders.

“This fortified the accused’s representations that STC was a legitimate and live money lending business,” the prosecutors informed the court.

The court documents did not say what happened to STC after 2013 and neither did they disclose how the offences came to light, which led to Naidu’s charging in the court in 2019. Court documents also did not disclose how the offences came to light.

The prosecutors had urged the court to sentence him to at least seven years and 10 months’ jail, stating that his offences had involved a high degree of premeditation and planning. For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined in Singapore.



Back to top button