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Homecourts crimeMan promised 50 per cent returns in investment scam; cheated 16 victims...

Man promised 50 per cent returns in investment scam; cheated 16 victims of over $48k

SINGAPORE – A man who lied to his colleagues and friends that he knew of an investment opportunity that promised 50 per cent returns was sentenced to 38 weeks’ jail.

Haresh Letchmanan, 38, who pleaded guilty to five cheating charges on Thursday, had cheated 16 victims of a total of $48,500.

Eleven similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

He was arrested in March for his crimes, but while out on bail, he reoffended by cheating other friends with the same ruse and was arrested again in August.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yap Jia Jun said Haresh had worked at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) as an operations assistant till January 2023.

In 2021, he started investing in cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens, and asked his family and friends to invest through him as well.

When returns were poor, Haresh had to fork out his own money to repay the sums he took from family and friends, which led to financial difficulties at the time of his offences.

The prosecutor said the first victim, V1, met Haresh while they were both working at TTSH.

In June 2022, Haresh told V1 he had an investment opportunity that would offer a 50 per cent return of the funds initially invested.

He told V1 the investment was “super safe” and promised him he would get his returns in August 2022. V1 then transferred $3,000 to Haresh’s bank account.

The second victim, V2, who also worked at TTSH, paid Haresh $8,000. Haresh had said the victim would make $500 for every $1,000 in a no-risk investment in a span of two weeks.

When V2 paid Haresh the money on Sept 10, Haresh promised him that he would receive $12,000 on Sept 24.

Haresh also talked about this “investment opportunity” to his subordinate at TTSH, who trusted his supervisor and transferred $3,000 to him.

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Haresh ran his scheme with other colleagues at TTSH but, in reality, 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.

DPP Yap said Haresh did not repay the victims’ capital or the returns.

She added that Haresh did not make restitution to any of the victims in the proceeded charges.

As a result of his actions, some victims faced financial difficulties and had trouble paying their bills, said the DPP.

In mitigation, Haresh said: “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.”

Those found guilty of cheating can be jailed for up to 10 years and are also liable to a fine.

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