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A Tamil-origin man in Singapore has been sentenced to 38 weeks in jail for cheating 16 victims of a total of SG$48,500 by telling them of an investment opportunity that guaranteed 50 per cent returns.
Haresh Letchmanan, 38, who worked at a hospital as an operations assistant till January 2023, pleaded guilty to five cheating charges on Thursday, The Straits Times reported.
Eleven similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing of Haresh who was arrested twice, in March and August, for cheating his friends.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yap Jia Jun told that court that Haresh started investing in cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens in 2021, and asked his family and friends to invest through him as well.
The prosecutor said Haresh met his first victim in June 2022, and told him that he has an investment opportunity that would offer a 50 per cent return of the funds initially invested.
The victim transferred SG$3,000 to Haresh’s bank account when the latter assured that the investment was “super safe”, and promised the victim that he would get his returns in August 2022.
Haresh took SG$8000 from the second victim and told him that he would make $500 for every $1,000 in a no-risk investment in a span of two weeks.
The two victims were fom the same hospital where Haresh worked.
Since Haresh did not know of any investment that could generate such returns, he subsequently used the funds received from his colleagues to repay his debts to loan sharks, family and friends, and also used some of it to gamble.
As a result of Haresh’s actions, some victims faced financial difficulties and had trouble paying their bills, Yap told the court.
“I am really sorry for all my mistakes. I regret everything. This is my last time committing an offence. I do not want to be in prison again,” Haresh told the court.
In Singapore, those found guilty of cheating can be jailed for up to 10 years and are also liable to a fine.