SINGAPORE — A recalcitrant cheater was sentenced to 50 months in prison and fined $7,600 on Monday after pretending to hold various positions, including that of a lawyer, to defraud 10 people out of nearly $85,000 in total.
Among his victims was a mother who believed he was a lawyer and paid him more than $45,000 to represent her son.
Thong Meng Fie, 46, had committed some of his offenses while under a surrender order shortly after his last release from prison in April 2019.
As part of the order, he was supposed to stay out of trouble from April 27, 2019 to August 25, 2020.
Instead, Thong returned to a life of crime just months after his release.
He was sentenced to spend an additional 386 days behind bars on Monday after breaking the order.
Thong, who formerly owned Growportunity Consulting, pleaded guilty in September to multiple offenses, including eight counts of cheating.
After his release in 2019, he posted an ad online, falsely stating that the consultancy was a law firm.
He even hired staff to work for him, and they were unaware he was unqualified to practice law.
In early August 2019, a 51-year-old woman who was looking for a lawyer to represent her son in a criminal case came across the advert and went to Thong’s office in North Bridge Road.
Thong then lied to her that he was a lawyer and discussed her son’s case with her.
In previous proceedings, Deputy Prosecutor Tay Jingxi said, “After the discussion, the defendant told (the woman) that he would take over his son’s case.
“To perpetuate his lie, the defendant issued a ‘warrant to act’, along with other documents indicating that he would ‘represent’ them in the case…”.
Thong then tricked the mother into paying her a total of $45,500 between August 14 and November 27, 2019.