A young man convinced seven of his friends to invest around S$332,000 in bitcoin through him by telling them that he had made money trading cryptocurrencies.
Instead of putting the money in the stock market, he spent it on virtual goods in online games, which he then resold for a profit. After that, he repaid his buddies approximately S$82,000 total.
On Tuesday (August 16), the young man, who is now 20 years old, entered a guilty plea to three counts of cheating.
When he comes back for punishment the following week, additional consideration will be given to four additional charges that are analogous.
Because the youth was under the age of 18 when the offenses were committed and is therefore protected by the Children and Young Persons Act, his identity cannot be revealed.
The young man realized, at some point prior to the year 2017, that he could make money by purchasing and reselling in-game stuff from video games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
In November of 2017, when the young man was 16 years old, he made the decision to improve his profits by selling products of higher value; however, he did not have sufficient funds to purchase these items.
According to the Deputy Public Prosecutor Cheng You Duen, the defendant had the intention of asking his friends for financial assistance, but he was aware that his friends would not help him if they knew the money would be used to purchase in-game products.
The young man deceived his companions by claiming that he had financial investments in a variety of markets, including forex and cryptocurrencies, and that he had offered to manage their funds.
He told his buddies that he had made money in the past trading Bitcoin and guaranteed them fixed returns on their investments if they did so through him. He was lying.
Between the months of January and August of 2018, one of the youth’s victims was a fellow student of the same age who was tricked into giving more than S$188,000.
This other student claimed to have made investments with the young person and collected more than forty thousand Singapore dollars from him between April and August of 2018.
After some time had passed, in October of 2018, the victim went to the police and reported that he had invested a significant amount of money with the teenager, but that he had not received any returns.
Another classmate, this one 17 years old, was duped into handing over approximately S$106,000 at least 26 separate times between May and August of 2018.
In October of 2018, he filed a report with the police after receiving a bogus investment return of approximately forty thousand Singapore dollars.
There were other people who lost money, such as a buddy of the youth’s who was also 17 years old and had invested $5,000 with him but had no return on his money.
Mr. Cheng referred to the young man as a resistant offender and brought attention to the fact that the number of fraudulent investment schemes in Singapore has been on the rise.
He maintained that the money that was given back to the victims, despite reducing the victims’ financial losses, could not be regarded a sign of the offender’s remorse, even though it did mitigate the victims’ economic losses.
The prosecutor stated that regardless of the outcome, an important amount equal to $249,124 is still owed.
He went on to say that some of the victims had borrowed money from family members and friends in order to cover their investment sums.
Adeline Goh, who is representing the defendant, claimed that the offenses her client committed “were born out of a teenager’s misguided attempt to establish a sense of belonging among his peers.”
She stated that her client had the belief that he would be more well-liked by his contemporaries if he demonstrated that he was informed about bitcoin trading and that he was successful at it.
The defense attorney said that he was “at a loss” when the victims, who had initially invested just modest sums of money with the criminal, began to raise the amount of money they were investing.
“This is a misguided attempt by a youngster to win friendship,” she added, encouraging the court not to consider reformative training as an option.
Ms. Goh emphasized her client’s young age, sincere regret for his acts, and the fact that he had quit playing computer games. She also mentioned that her client had stopped playing video games.
“He has experienced directly how a falsehood he believed was harmless might derail his life,” she added, referring to the court proceedings as a “wake-up call” for him. “He has witnessed firsthand how a lie he thought was harmless could derail his life.”
However, District Judge Kessler Soh stated that the mitigation plea presented by the defense sought to minimize the damage that was done to the victims.
As the prosecution had requested, he had reports prepared that would determine whether or not the young person would benefit from probation and corrective education.
The term “probation” refers to a sentence that takes place within the community, whereas “reformative training” refers to a more severe kind of punishment that places juvenile offenders in a regimented setting with the goal of rehabilitating them.
If caught cheating, you might face up to ten years in prison in addition to a fine.