A bank clerk who conned an acquaintance of S$32,000 by cooking tales about an exclusive investment opportunity promising 56 per cent profits in six months was sentenced to nine months’ jail on Thursday (Mar 3).
Fadzuli Mohd, 45, was working as a Special Grade Clerk at OCBC Bank when he was introduced to Mr Muhammad Sir’an Rashid by his cousin Mohammed Saodik Sinha, a district court heard. Mr Sir’an, who was looking for investment opportunities in late 2009, was referred to Saodik by the latter’s brother.
Fadzuli and Saodik agreed to cheat Mr Sir’an by lying that there was an investment opportunity that was exclusively available to OCBC employees. They told Mr Sir’an that the “deal” involved an initial investment of S$50,000 that would guarantee a S$20,000 return every month over six months. But S$7,000 would be retained as “administrative fees” each month, with the principle sum of S$50,000 to be returned in full after half a year.
In January 2010, Mr Sir’an agreed to take up the offer, but told Fadzuli he was unable to pump in S$50,000 upfront. Instead, he credited S$7,000 to Fadzuli’s personal bank account first.
Saodik stepped in and told Mr Sir’an he would chip in with S$18,000 on his behalf, meaning the victim only had to give Fadzuli another S$25,000. He did so on Feb 1. After receiving no returns, Mr Sir’an confronted Fadzuli in August that year. It was only then that Fadzuli admitted that the investment opportunity was bogus.
Only S$2,000 out of the S$32,000 has been recovered and returned to the victim.
On Thursday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Alexander Woon pressed for a jail term of between nine and 12 months, saying that Fadzuli had used his position in the bank to gain the trust of his victim. But defence lawyer Christopher Daniel urged the court to impose a jail term of four to six months, citing that his client had made restitution.
Mr Daniel added that the role played by his client in the investment scam was not “major”, arguing that he was manipulated by Saodik, who has not been dealt with by the courts.
In sentencing, the district judge did not agree with the defence that Fadzuli played only a minor role in the offence, noting that he had used his employment status in the bank to gain the credibility to cheat the victim.