A 26-year-old Singaporean man has been sentenced to a year in prison after tricking a policeman into giving him S$25,000 ($17,600) which he used to fund a currency exchange scam.
As reported by local outlets, Lincoln Poh Chong Tee convinced the officer — also his long-time friend and spa buddy — that he could take his money and turn it into a bitcoin fortune due to the currency’s skyrocketing price. However, once Poh was entrusted with the funds, he pooled with cash borrowed from his girlfriend and his own savings to create a S$150,000 ($107,000) scam war chest.
Poh was part of a group that was planning to con a woman out of S$150,000 (which she would pay in Chinese Yuan) by tricking her into believing her cash was going to be exchanged with the funds he’d collected.
The scammers planned to pretend that the woman’s payment was unsuccessful, then promise to cancel the transaction and refund her money. They would then simply keep her cash and disappear and Poh would collect his cut — around S$30,000 ($21,000).
The scam was foiled by a cautious woman and a fast taxi
When the scammers met the woman to lure her into the exchange, using the S$150,000 collected by Poh to reassure her, she insisted she count the cash and send only half, hanging onto the rest until she could confirm the transaction was successful.
The scammers demanded she pay in full but she refused, causing them to panic and flee on a bus. However, the woman was able to hail a cab and soon caught up to them before ringing the police and ending the whole ordeal.
Following his arrest, Poh lied to the police and claimed he’d lost his phone. However, he actually hid his device in a shoe rack outside his home in an attempt to conceal evidence. He later changed his defense and gave up the phone’s whereabouts.
Poh was charged and sentenced this week for obstructing the course of justice, dishonest misappropriation, conspiring to cheat, unlawfully possessing a weapon, and illicitly accessing the Singapore Police Force’s database.
Poh’s two friends who conducted the meetup were sentenced each to two months in jail while one of the gang is still at large.