Businessman Wong Kok Keong gained the trust of a construction firm's bosses by pretending he was the brother of former Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, before cheating them of S$420,000 over two months.
On Monday (Mar 21), the court heard Wong, 64, met three shareholders and directors of Manor Construction in 2007 through a business deal. The men asked Wong if the then-DPM was his brother, as the men bore a strong resemblance. Wong “responded in the affirmative” and this knowledge “reassured” the victims, Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi said.
Bolstered by this pretense, Wong went on to trick the victims into investing in a plot of land at 8 Yung Ho Road. He deceived the firm into handing over S$180,000 as partial payment for the land, which was valued at S$900,000. The men issued Wong a cheque for the S$180,000 on Sep 27, 2014, which he cashed the same day.
A month later, Wong cheated the firm of another S$240,000. He convinced the victims to buy 1.6 million shares at S$0.15 per share, telling them that a deal he was in the midst of arranging would see the share price spike to S$0.50 per share. Wong cashed two cheques issued by the firm in October 2007 to the tune of S$240,000.
In both cases, when the victims asked for documents pertaining to the purchases of land and shares, Wong could not produce them. In April 2008, Wong told the victims that both investments were unsuccessful, and promised to return the money – he had pocketed S$420,000 by this time.
To date, Wong has made restitution of S$195,000, DPP Hon said.
The accused, represented by lawyer Edmond Pereira, pleaded guilty to two counts of cheating at court on Monday. He is expected to be sentenced on Apr 26.
For cheating, Wong could face up to seven years’ jail and a fine.