Man jailed for helping friend cheat another man of $300,000, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Man jailed for helping friend cheat another man of $300,000

In order to settle personal debts, a man agreed to help carry out his friend’s plan to cheat someone else of $300,000.

Koh You Ming later used his share of the supposed windfall to settle his debts of about $35,000.

On June 14, the 37-year-old was sentenced to one year and four months’ jail after pleading guilty to one cheating charge.

He has not made any restitution to the victim.

Koh and Phoon Chee Kong, 37, knew each other from cryptocurrency trading, and the victim, 27, became acquainted with Phoon sometime between 2020 and May 2024.

All three were members of the same cryptocurrency trading group on messaging platform Telegram where members can send messages to the chat to show their interest in purchasing the digital currencies.

Brokers or members who can help to facilitate the transactions then respond to the messages privately.

Between 2020 and May 2024, Phoon had helped the victim on 10 separate occasions to purchase the cryptocurrency Tether, also known as USDT.

Under the arrangement, they would both agree on the currency exchange rate that was to be used and the amount of USDT to be bought. The digital currency was purchased in US dollars.

The victim would then either meet Phoon or Koh to hand them the money, and Phoon would transfer the USDT to the victim’s digital wallet.

The court heard that Phoon cooked up a plan to “run” with the victim’s money some time in May 2021. He had alerted Koh to his plan, who agreed to help in exchange for a cut.

On May 24, 2021, the victim messaged the group chat saying that he wanted to buy $300,000 worth of USDT, and Phoon responded to him to say he could assist with the trade.

After the pair agreed on the transaction, Phoon called Koh to inform him of the deal, and they decided to cheat the victim.

Phoon then called the victim and asked him to meet Koh on the same day to pass him the $300,000 in person, similar to their previous arrangements.

Upon receiving the money, Koh met Phoon at a different location to ensure they were out of sight of closed circuit television cameras.

They agreed to a 60-40 split, with Koh getting the smaller cut.

As part of the act, Phoon then called the victim at around 3.40pm the same day to inform him that he was unable to contact Koh and hence would not be transferring the cryptocurrency.

The victim then made a police report.

Investigations found that the pair had made plans to conceal the money.

In a bid to cover their tracks, Phoon used his share to buy $180,000 worth of USDT before transferring the entire purchase into Koh’s brother’s digital wallet.

Phoon and Koh then transferred the USDT into different wallets, before eventually transferring the entire sum into a wallet under Phoon’s name.

Koh, who had received $120,000, used $35,000 to pay off his debts. He gave his brother $5,000, before hiding the rest of the money in his house.

Those found guilty of cheating can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

Court documents did not reveal if Phoon has been dealt with.