In a shocking case of deception and fraud, a man in Singapore has been sentenced to 55 months in prison for tricking a friend out of a significant sum of money. Defendant Xie Rongsheng, 46 years old, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of deception and breach of trust. The elaborate scheme involved Xie posing as his pregnant wife and concocting a false story about being pursued by a creditor in the Philippines, ultimately defrauding the victim of 850,000 yuan (equivalent to approximately RM2 million).
The court heard that the defendant’s wife had initially met the victim in an online group for pregnant women back in 2018. In the following year, Xie began impersonating his wife and initiated text conversations with the victim, requesting monetary assistance. Claiming that his “husband” was being held captive by creditors in the Philippines, Xie convinced the victim to lend him money for the supposed redemption.
Initially, the victim lent 170,000 yuan to Xie out of sympathy. Encouraged by this success, the defendant’s fraudulent activities escalated. After his wife gave birth, Xie directly contacted the victim and claimed that he needed funds for a business venture. Using emotional manipulation by expressing suicidal thoughts, Xie convinced the victim to lend him an additional 400,000 yuan.
In total, the victim ended up lending 850,000 yuan to the defendant. However, instead of using the money for legitimate purposes, Xie transferred the ill-gotten funds to a Macau casino account, used some of it to pay off debts, and indulged in personal luxuries. This included purchasing a designer bag worth 7,269 yuan for his wife and a watch worth 48,700 yuan for himself. To make matters worse, Xie only repaid a mere 50,000 yuan (equivalent to approximately RM172,500) to the victim.
But Xie’s fraudulent activities didn’t end there. Between October and December 2021, he falsely advertised hotel accommodation packages for sale on the online shopping platform Carousell. Numerous unsuspecting victims fell prey to his scams, resulting in a collective loss of 62,540 yuan.
Additionally, in May 2021, Xie came into contact with a Hong Kong businessman who required assistance in collecting money from customers in Singapore and then transferring it to an account in China or Hong Kong. Promising to help for a commission of 1%, Xie received $64,516 between May 5 and June 20, 2021. However, he reneged on his agreement and instead used the money for gambling.
The court, recognizing the severity of the defendant’s actions, sentenced Xie Rongsheng to 55 months in prison. This case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and caution when engaging in financial transactions, particularly online. It highlights the need for individuals to be wary of elaborate schemes and to verify the authenticity of requests for financial assistance, even when they appear to come from trusted sources.