SINGAPORE: A youth cheated seven of his friends of more than S$330,000 in an investment scam, claiming that he would help them invest in the foreign exchange and cryptocurrency markets.
He started cheating his victims when he was just 16 years old and spent their money on things such as online game items instead of investing it.
On Oct 20, the youth, now 20, was ordered to undergo at least six months of reformative training, which involves detention in a centre with a strict regimen that can include foot drills and counselling.
The offender cannot be named as he was a minor when he started committing the offences. The identities of those under 18 are protected under the Children and Young Persons Act.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of cheating involving three victims who were his 17-year-old schoolmates.
Four other similar charges linked to the other victims were considered during sentencing.
The youth lied to his friends, saying he would help them invest their money.
He claimed that he had made money trading in Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, and even guaranteed them fixed returns if they invested through him.
In reality, he planned to buy items in online games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and sell them for a profit.
In earlier proceedings, the court heard that one of the victims had given him S$106,050 over at least 26 occasions between May 8 and Aug 11, 2018.
The offender gave him S$40,870 as purported returns on his investments.
Another victim gave him S$188,847 over at least 35 occasions between January and August 2018.
He gave this friend S$40,695 as purported returns on his investments.
The third victim gave S$5,000 to the offender but did not receive any “returns”.
The victims later alerted the police when they did not receive the promised returns on their purported investments.
The prosecution earlier called for the youth to be given a deterrent sentence, arguing that there has been an increase in scam cases in Singapore.
For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network