Freelance driver jailed two years for cheating
Freelance driver uses money to bet on horses and football
Invest US$46,000 (S$65,500) with me and you'll earn US$10 million.
That was the promise Karuppiah Kaneshan made to a business acquaintance.
The offer sounded too good to be true, and it was because Karuppiah used the money to feed his gambling habit.
Even his childhood friend was not spared.
Karuppiah, 56, a freelance driver, was jailed 24 months for three counts of cheating yesterday.
None of Karuppiah's victims got their money back.
In October 2003, he got to know his first victim, Mr Tan Hung Yeoh, 58.
Half a year later, Karuppiah approached Mr Tan and lied that he was able to open two accounts with ABN Amro Private Banking.
But a $10,000 deposit was required for each account to access the banking facilities, Karuppiah claimed.
Mr Tan handed over $20,000 in cash but Karuppiah never opened the bank accounts in April 2004.
When Mr Tan asked him for the money back, Karuppiah repeatedly promised to do so, but never did.
Mr Tan filed a police report in May 2004, but The New Paper understands Karuppiah evaded police detection for 10 years.
In May 2011, Karuppiah met his second victim, Ms Thai Thi Hong Hau, 33, a Vietnamese national who was setting up a project in her home country.
Karuppiah learnt that Ms Thai needed $10 million to fund her project and told her he could get the money.
He claimed that all he needed was US$46,000 in processing fees and taxes to activate the transfer of the necessary funds.
In July, Ms Thai transferred the money to Karuppiah, who used it to cover his losses from betting on horse racing and football.
But he repeatedly lied to Ms Thai that he needed more time to release the funds. Fed up of waiting for three years, Ms Thai made a police report at Orchard Neighbourhood Police Centre in 2014.
That same year, Karuppiah's third victim, his childhood friend, Mr Ramachandran T. S. Nayar, 54, filed a police report after Karuppiah had cheated him of $26,500.
Karuppiah had earlier claimed to Mr Ramachandran that he had a lucrative coffee shop venture and got him to invest in the fake business.
He told Mr Ramachandran that if he invested $50,000, he would be able to earn $30,000 in profits every month. Again, Karuppiah gambled away the money collected from Mr Ramachandran.
But in November 2014, Karuppiah was approached by a police officer and asked to produce his NRIC for a spot check.
He tried to flee but fell.
He was arrested and taken to Ang Mo Kio Police Division.
Yesterday, he pleaded guilty to three counts of cheating, with seven other charges - including one for failing to report his change of address - taken into consideration.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Thiagesh said this wasn't the first time Karuppiah had cheated people - he was jailed 18 months in 1987 for the same offence.
Karuppiah's lawyer told the court his client was aware of the offences committed and admitted to his wrongdoings.
For cheating, Karuppiah could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each cheating charge.