2024年6月3日月曜日

8 YEARS' JAIL FOR MAN WHO CHEATED 6 VICTIMS OUT OF $2.85M BY OFFERING TO RECOVER TIMESHARE LOSSES - SINGAPORE

8 YEARS' JAIL FOR MAN WHO CHEATED 6 VICTIMS OUT OF $2.85M BY OFFERING TO RECOVER TIMESHARE LOSSES - SINGAPORE


@Jackie San


SINGAPORE – A scammer was sentenced to eight years’ jail on May 9 for duping six people out of more than $2.85 million in total.


The victims had already suffered losses in earlier investments.


Despite this, Murlidharan Muhundan, 47, cheated them through a series of “fees”, “commissions” and other fictitious payments after claiming that he could help them recover their monies.


The Singaporean, who committed the offences from June 2020 to October 2022, pleaded guilty on April 5 to 18 counts of cheating involving more than $1 million.


Another 40 similar charges linked to the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.


In earlier proceedings, the prosecution said that Murlidharan had earned the trust of his victims, who were between 57 and 77 years old.


The first victim was a 77-year-old female retiree who was an investor in a failed “Gold Crown timeshare” investment scheme.


Murlidharan was not part of the Gold Crown investment scheme. Deputy Public Prosecutors Kenny Yang and Kiera Yu did not disclose its details in court documents.


In 2020, he worked as a sales and operations manager at a debt collection firm called Republic Business Consultancy (RBC).


While working as debt collector, he came across clients who wanted to terminate and recover monies from their timeshare investments.


Murlidharan knew that it was not possible to recover monies from such investments. Despite this, he decided to cheat his victims as he needed money to repay his gambling debts and loans from illegal moneylenders, the DPPs said.


He also knew that the woman had previously lost money in a failed Gold Crown timeshare investment scheme.


She received a call from Murlidharan, who referred to himself as “Darren”. He asked her to meet him at RBC’s office at People’s Park Centre shopping mall near Chinatownand she turned up there on July 9, 2020.


He then lied to her, claiming that an organisation called “Bhagyam Agencies” had purportedly recovered £575,000 (S$973,000) from her earlier investment and that she needed to fork out $30,000 as “fees” to receive it.


Six days later, the woman and her husband met Murlidharan in Orchard Road and handed him the amount.


After that, she received a receipt, purportedly issued by “Bhagyam Agencies Bangalore”, stating that the so-called payment was made.


Over multiple occasions, Murlidharan cheated the woman of another $310,000 until late 2020.


On Jan 30, 2021, her son lodged a police report, claiming that she had been duped into making the payments.


Court documents did not state what happened next, but Murlidharan left RBC and joined a firm called Conquistador Debt Management as its head of operations in May 2021.


The court heard that he also cheated five more people by using a similar method before he was caught and charged in court in May 2022.


For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.


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@Jackie San

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