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Singapore court sentences Malaysian woman to jail for scamming TikTok friend with fake DHL job offers, extorts S$5,000

A 31-year-old Malaysian woman received a six-week jail term for duping a TikTok acquaintance into paying S$5,000, promising fictitious job roles at DHL Singapore.

Financially strained and seeking funds for her mother’s medical bills, she schemed to exploit her friend’s trust.

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SINGAPORE: A 31-year-old Malaysian woman, Jayanthi Subramaniam, has been sentenced to six weeks in jail for tricking a friend she met on TikTok into paying S$5,000 (approximately US$3,731) under the guise of securing fake job opportunities for two foreign workers at DHL Singapore.

Jayanthi, facing financial difficulties and desperate for funds to cover her ailing mother’s medical expenses, concocted a plan to exploit her acquaintance, Mr Rajappan Balakrishnan.

As reported by Singapore media TODAY, the State Prosecuting Officer (SPO) Ng Chee Wee revealed to the court that Jayanthi was employed by a cleaning company and had been deployed to work at the logistics giant, DHL.

The court learned that the duo had connected through TikTok in 2021 and maintained their relationship solely through phone calls, text messages, and voice messaging, never meeting in person.

It was in August that Jayanthi initiated her scheme, informing Mr Rajappan about alleged job opportunities at DHL Singapore.

According to SPO Ng, Jayanthi claimed to be working at DHL and offered to submit work pass applications for foreign workers, even though she had no affiliation with the company, and the jobs were non-existent.

Mr Rajappan, an Indian national, then contacted a friend who recommended two individuals for the fictitious jobs.

Jayanthi requested S$5,000 each to process their job and work pass applications, leaving Mr Rajappan suspicious due to the high amount.

However, Jayanthi managed to convince him by sending photographs and videos of DHL’s premises, assuring him of the legitimacy of the opportunity.

Mr Rajappan then agreed to pay S$2,500 for each person as a deposit, transferring a total of S$5,000 into Jayanthi’s account.

SPO Ng noted that Jayanthi attempted to ask for more money, but Mr Rajappan insisted on formal documentation before providing additional funds. Subsequently, Jayanthi ceased requesting money and began offering repeated excuses about the job opportunities.

The scam came to light when Mr Rajappan filed a police report on 1 October, leading to Jayanthi’s arrest three days later.

Unfortunately, the sum was not recovered as Jayanthi claimed to have used it to settle debts and cover personal expenses, including her mother’s medical bills.

During the mitigation phase, Jayanthi, visibly emotional, pleaded with the court for leniency, attributing her actions to her mother’s medical condition.

“My mother is a dialysis patient, and I had asked for this money because of her medical expenses,” she tearfully stated, expressing remorse and vowing not to repeat such a mistake.

District Judge Cheng Yuxi emphasized the substantial nature of the sum involved. The judge highlighted that, in response to the victim’s scepticism, Jayanthi went to the extent of capturing images of the DHL office premises to reinforce her deceit.

Additionally, the judge considered Jayanthi’s single charge, early guilty plea, clean record, and complete restitution.

For the charge of cheating, Jayanthi faced a maximum penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine.

The court ultimately sentenced her to six weeks in jail, underscoring the severity of financial deception and the consequences of preying on the vulnerability of others.

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