Singapore

Prosecution seeking 12 to 13 years for membership scam mastermind

The prosecution is seeking a jail term of 12 to 13 years for the mastermind behind the Keppel Club membership scam, who last Friday reached a full and final settlement to pay the club $3.65 million in restitution.

Setho Oi Lin, 71, who was a personal assistant to the club's general manager, received at least $10.5 million from the cheating offences that spanned 10 years, investigations found.

Between June 1, 2004, and Aug 1, 2014, Setho, who is also known as Setho Irene, duped 1,341 people into paying about $37.5 million in total for fake memberships.

In light of the restitution settlement reached last Friday, the prosecution yesterday sought a lower jail term for Setho.

Originally seeking a sentence of at least 15 years, Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi said that the "sheer magnitude of the crime" and the "high level of premeditation" justified the lengthy jail time.

He said: "There was a colossal amount of money paid out wrongfully to the wrong person."

Setho's lawyers Philip Fong and Lynn Wong are seeking a term of seven years in jail for their client, given her restitution settlement as well as her advanced age and ill health.

On Dec 4 last year, Setho pleaded guilty to 60 counts of cheating. As part of the scam, Setho would tell prospective buyers there were club memberships available for transfer.

Instead of paying the club directly, the buyers were instructed to make payments to third parties, including Setho's friend, and this accomplice's family members.

The buyers paid between $26,500 and $41,500 each.

A supervisor at the membership department would enter these buyers' names into the database and issue them with membership cards.

Setho's two accomplices, former membership department supervisor Nah Hak Chuah and club member Ivy Cheo Soh Chin, both 67, admitted to their roles in the scam on Nov 30 last year.

On Jan 10, Nah was sentenced to three years in jail, and Cheo, who was Setho's friend, was jailed for 41/2 years.

Setho's case has been adjourned for sentencing until Monday next week.

Offenders convicted of cheating can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge.

COURT & CRIME