SINGAPORE: A teenage girl who tricked money men into pretending to be a woman offering sex was sentenced Thursday (September 30) to reform training.
Jerell Lim Jing Kai, 19, pleaded guilty to six counts, including five of cheating. The remaining charge was for his role in an investment scam.
He was sentenced to a six-month reform training course, and 11 other charges were considered for sentencing.
The court heard that Lim created profiles of women on the locanto.com website, using images he obtained from Instagram. He then offered sex to two men who texted him.
Lim instructed the victims to transfer the money to bank accounts belonging to others, with which he shared the money. Victims cannot be named due to a gag order to protect their identity.
In February last year, Lim created a profile under the name “Bernise”, claiming to be a 20-year-old female. He approached his friend Leow Weijie to use Leow’s bank account.
Leow would receive money in his bank account and withdraw the money on Lim’s instructions. Leow would receive 20 percent of the money as a commission.
On March 27, 2020, a 24-year-old man messaged Lim on the site. Lim responded to the man and announced sexual services. They arranged to meet.
However, Lim claimed Bernise’s sister had been hospitalized and they were unable to meet. He asked the victim to transfer S $ 1,000 to Leow’s bank account as a loan, allegedly for medical bills. He also sent the victim a photo of a medical bill.
Leow kept S $ 200 as commission, while Lim took S $ 800. Leow then refused to allow Lim to continue using his bank account.
Lim approached another friend, Gabriel Emmanuel Teo, to use Teo’s bank account. He agreed to pay Teo a 20 percent commission.
On March 29, 2020, Lim asked the victim for more money for medical bills, and the victim transferred an additional S $ 2,000. Teo kept S $ 400 as commission while Lim received S $ 1,600.
On April 10, 2020, Lim told the victim that Bernise’s sister had passed away and asked for money for funeral expenses. The victim transferred S $ 520, of which Teo kept S $ 104 as commission and the rest went to Lim.
The victim ultimately suspected he had been scammed and filed a police report on April 26 last year, according to court documents.
In May of last year, Lim discovered that Teo and Leow had been contacted by police to help with investigations.
He asked Teo and Leow to lie to the police and say that they had provided their accounts to an unknown person in exchange for money, and that this unknown person was now unreachable.
In July of last year, Lim created another profile on locanto.com using the name “feliciaxx88” and posted an advertisement on the same website offering sex services.
To hide his identity, Lim asked a friend – who was not named in court documents – to obtain bank accounts belonging to third parties. Lim agreed to give his friend 30 percent of the money he received from scam victims, while he kept 70 percent.
This friend approached another friend, Then Wei Siong, who agreed to provide a Paylah QR code, linked to his bank account. At all times, Then knew it would be used to receive money from victims deceived through the online scam, according to court documents.
On July 13, 2020, another victim messaged “Felicia” on a Telegram account that Lim created.
Lim sent the victim a list of the sexual services that could be provided and the prices that come with them. The victim agreed to transfer S $ 200 via Then’s Paylah’s QR code, as surety for sexual services.
Lim then claimed that “Felicia” owed loan sharks money and requested a S $ 280 loan. The victim transferred the money “out of sympathy”, according to court documents.
Two days later, Lim requested to meet the victim at a false residential address. The victim filed a police report after going to the address and realizing that the living unit did not exist.
Teo’s case is pending.
ROLE IN THE INVESTMENT ARRACHE
Lim was also involved in an investment scam in April of this year. A bank account he opened with UOB was used to receive and transfer over S $ 190,000.
According to court documents, Lim came across a Telegram group of a man claiming to be “Wilson” announcing an opportunity to make a quick buck.
When Lim inquired about the opportunity, Wilson claimed he needed Lim’s bank account for stock-related purposes and couldn’t use his as he needed multiple accounts. Lim was promised a commission of S $ 500 to S $ 1,000 per month.
Wilson specifically needed a UOB account, and Lim went to create an account with UOB. He met a man who claimed to be Wilson and handed him a debit card and internet banking token linked to the UOB account, along with details for accessing the account.
Lim’s role in the investment scam came to light after a 33-year-old victim filed a police report claiming he was the victim of an investment scam.
The victim said that in April he was introduced to an investment platform called Fidelity Investments.
In order to top up his investment account, the victim was asked to make transfers to different bank accounts. Thinking of recharging his account, the victim transferred S $ 1,500 to the UOB account belonging to Lim.
However, the victim learned that his investment account was “frozen” and that he needed to transfer more money to “unlock” it. The next day, the victim made a police report.
“At all times, the accused had reasonable grounds to believe that by ceding control of his bank account to Wilson, he would facilitate Wilson’s control over the benefits of criminal behavior,” the court documents say.
From April 26 to 28, the UOB account was used to receive S $ 191,780.80, and S $ 191,752.24 was transferred out of the account, according to court documents.
For each count of cheating, Lim could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.