In a recent court hearing, a 17-year-old girl pleaded guilty to participating in a criminal conspiracy to cheat.
The charges were related to her involvement in a scam where she falsely portrayed herself as a provider of sexual services in exchange for cash. The motive behind the scam was to earn additional funds for food delivery orders and renting cars.
Due to legal reasons under the Children and Young Persons Act, the identity of the teenager cannot be disclosed.
As per the reports, the teenager’s ex-boyfriend had previously admitted to a similar charge and is also awaiting the results of a suitability report for probation. The pair, who were in a romantic relationship from March to August of the previous year, devised a scheme in May to amass quick money. The girl utilized the TextNow app to acquire foreign mobile numbers, which were later employed to create new Telegram accounts.
To make the fake profiles appear authentic, the teenager appropriated photos of unidentified girls from the internet without their consent. She adopted various false names and joined Telegram public chat groups like Telegram Hitch, which facilitated ride-sharing of private-hire cars, as well as chat groups involving sexual services. The court heard that the girl would receive numerous private messages from interested individuals after introducing herself in these groups.
The teenager would deceive these individuals by claiming she offered sexual services for a fee, even though she had no intention of following through on these offers. To further bolster her ruse, she would send voice notes proving her identity as a real female. Once an arrangement was made, the victims were required to pay a deposit ranging from S$10 to S$50 into her then-boyfriend’s bank account via PayNow, an e-payment channel.
However, upon arriving at the designated meeting place, the victims were informed by the girl that she was no longer comfortable proceeding and demanded more money. Subsequently, she would cease all communication and block them on Telegram. The ex-boyfriend also engaged in similar fraudulent activities using a Telegram account under the alias “Amanda.”
The scam only came to light when one of the victims filed a police report on October 7. However, due to the number of unidentified victims, the exact amount cheated is yet to be determined, the report added.
During mitigation, the teenager’s defense lawyer emphasized the need for a probation suitability report, suggesting that rehabilitation would be the appropriate sentence. The girl was only 16 at the time the offenses were committed. District Judge Eddy Tham, before granting the request for a probation suitability report, sternly addressed the teenager, emphasizing the severity of her actions and reminding her of the distinction between right and wrong.
Engaging in a criminal conspiracy to cheat is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years or a fine, or both. The teenager will return to court on January 24 for sentencing after the completion of the probation suitability report.
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