Serial scammer sells fake winning 4-D ticket to colleague
Part-time cleaner gets 7 years' preventive detention
He spent about one-fifth of his life behind bars for cheating people.
But even after his latest release in April this year, it seems Mohamed Yaacop Ali has not learnt the errors of his ways.
Just a few months later, the serial cheat swindled two more victims of $7,200 and two mobile phones.
One was a colleague he had conned using a forged lottery ticket, the other was a man he had met at a hospital.
Yesterday, Yaacop, 62, a part-time cleaner, was sentenced to seven years' preventive detention for his latest spate of cheating offences.
The court heard since 1981, Yaacop has been in and out of jail at least seven times for cheating.
His latest conviction was last year, when he was sentenced to 15 months' jail.
On July 10 this year, three months after his release, he bought a 4D ticket with the numbers 9473 for the next day's draw but missed out on the 1st prize, which was 4973.
Three days later, he bought a new 4D ticket with the numbers 4973 for the next draw on July 18. He then changed the date to July 11.
The next day, Yaacop approached a security guard, Mr Lim Phang Eng, at his workplace - a DHL warehouse in Tai Seng Drive - and told him he had won first prize for the July 11 draw.
Yaacop lied that his ticket was worth $10,000 and he did not know how to go to the Singapore Pools headquarters to claim the money. .
He said he urgently needed the money and offered to sell the ticket to Mr Lim for $7,000.
Mr Lim felt sorry for the elderly man and bought it. But when Mr Lim tried to cash it the next day, he was told the ticket was a fake.
He went back to the workplace to confront Yaacop, but was told Yaacop had not shown up for work.
He then made a police report.
The next month, Yaacop was warded at the National University Hospital. There, he met his second victim, Mr Muhammad Shahid Sazali, who was visiting his father.
Yaacop lied to Mr Shahid that he was working for telco M1 and claimed he could trade in older mobile phone models for the new Samsung Galaxy S6s at a very low price.
Mr Shahid met Yaacop at Tampines Mall later that month and passed him two iPhones, as well as $200 cash.
Yaacop told Mr Shahid to wait at the McDonald's outlet. After three hours, Mr Shahid grew suspicious and went to the store, only to find that Yaacop was not employed there.
By then, the serial cheat had already fled to Johor Baru with the cash and mobile phones.
Yaacop was arrested on Aug 23 when he returned to Singapore.
Both victims did not recover any of their money, court papers said.
District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim said it was disconcerting that Yaacop's modus operandi appeared to be similar to the one he used in 2014.
The judge sentenced him to seven years' preventive detention, which is reserved for recalcitrant offenders who must serve the full sentence with no reduction for good behaviour.