A woman posed as an attorney and conned her contacts into giving her over S$62,000 for “legal services” or employment at a reputable firm.
Siti Suhailal Halil, 28, was given a two-year prison sentence on Friday (Jan 6).
She pleaded guilty to three counts of cheating, with three further counts taken into account.
The court heard that Siti cheated on the 52-year-old mother of her then-boyfriend for over two years.
In December 2017, she claimed to the elder woman that she was an attorney, knowing that the latter need legal assistance for Central Provident Fund concerns and an ongoing divorce.
Siti misrepresented that she could provide legal assistance in exchange for certain sums, despite not being a licensed attorney.
Between December 2017 and September 2019, the elder woman wired money to Siti 126 times for “legal services” such as documentation, court filings, and consultations.
The elder woman sent $27,980 to Siti’s bank account between January 2018 and December 2018.
Siti convinced the elderly woman to continue making the wire transfers by claiming that failing to pay the legal fees would result in a fine or arrest.
In October of 2019, the elderly woman confronted Siti and demanded proof that she was a lawyer. The victim filed a police report after Siti’s inability to do so.
Siti cheated the friend of her husband, a 28-year-old guy, by stating she could obtain him a position at Dentons Rodyk legal firm while she was under investigation.
Siti said she worked there as an attorney, however she was neither an employee nor a licensed attorney.
Siti deceived the victim into believing that he would be required to complete certain legal and management courses with Kaplan Singapore and Exena Learning Hub before he could proceed.
Between December 2021 and March 2022, he wired her S$32,460 in response to her request for course enrollment costs.
As he did not receive an invoice or receipt, the individual became suspicious and called the law firm around April 2022.
He was informed that no one with the accused’s name worked there.
Additionally, he called Kaplan, who informed him that no enrollment record existed for him. Later, he filed a police report.
Siti defrauded a second victim, a 28-year-old acquaintance, using the same ruse involving a position at Dentons Rodondk.
In April 2022, he transferred $1,680 to her bank account.
Siti used the proceeds from her crimes to cover her personal costs and settle her obligations.
She then repaid S$1,900 to the mother of her ex-boyfriend and S$1,600 to the friend of her husband.
The prosecutor requested between 24 and 28 months in prison, stating that Siti continued to commit crimes even knowing she was under investigation.
In addition, she barely made half reparation, the prosecutor stated.
Siti, who was remanded, requested for a reduced sentence on the grounds that she has a daughter and “financial hardship.”
“I want for a lower term, I’m very sorry,” she said, adding that after serving her sentence she planned to reimburse the victims financially.
Siti said that she obtained a certificate in legal studies from Kaplan in response to the judge’s inquiry as to whether she had received training as an attorney.
The judge replied, “One of the foundations of punishment is that the criminal and his family must face the consequences.”
He stated that any restitution to the victims had to be made prior to the imposition of the punishment for it to be considered.