Man cheated victims of $4k for religious services
He promised multiple victims that a group he was in would perform religious services for their special events, deceiving them into paying him close to $4,000.
But Mohammed Zamri Ahmad Tony, 36, had no intention of performing these services and did not mention these engagements to the other members in his group.
Between February and October 2016, Zamri cheated eight people out of $3,850 and has not repaid them. In September 2016, he also tried to steal from a donation box at a mosque in Sengkang.
Zamri pleaded guilty on Jan 22 to four counts of cheating with five other charges taken into consideration.
He was a member of Al-Badr and Ukiran Rentak, which provided religious services to the Muslim community for special events and advertised these services on Facebook.
The group would generally collect payment on the day of the event or after the services were provided.
But Zamri collected payments upfront from his victims, who transferred the money to bank accounts belonging to him or to another man, Khairul Azhar Ali.
Khairul agreed to receive the payments on Zamri's behalf, withdraw the money in cash as the latter said he needed help to receive money from relatives.
On Nov 7, 2016, Al-Badr and Ukiran Rentak announced on Facebook that Zamri had collected the upfront payments without their knowledge and he was no longer part of the group.
This was how one of the victims, a 36-year-old woman, realised she had been cheated.
She had transferred a total of $400 to Zamri in October 2016 after he had deceived her into believing the group would perform services for a religious prayer for her newborn son in December that year.
Another victim, a 38-year-old man, paid $650 for a wedding event in December but realised he had also been cheated when he spoke to another member of the group.
Asking for at least 12 weeks' jail, Deputy Public Prosecutor Shamini Joseph told District Judge John Ng that Zamri's offences were premeditated and he had used his friend Khairul as an unwitting money mule.
The case has been adjourned to Feb 10 for sentencing and Zamri is out on $15,000 bail.