Conman who cheated 62 victims of $130,000 with mobile phone scam jailed

Conman who cheated 62 victims of $130,000 with mobile phone scam jailed
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

Barely a month his release from prison, he repeated the same offence of conning individuals into signing up for mobile plans so as to get his hands on the bundled mobile phones.

Singaporean Muhammad Zarifi Hamdan, 26, would then pay his victims a small sum of money for the phones and tell them that they would not incur penalties by terminating the phone lines afterwards as he had friends working in the telcos who would help them with the task.

While Zarifi sold the phones, his victims would be left to shoulder the termination penalty under their newly acquired mobile phone contracts.

Using this tactic, he made some $130,000 from cheating 62 victims. He also cheated one other person of $1,500 by luring the victim into a phoney investment.

Zarifi was sentenced to four years and 10 months’ jail at the State Courts on Monday (25 June) after he admitted to 20 counts of cheating. The remaining 82 cheating charges he faced were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

For offending while on remission, Zarifi – who had been released on 18 March last year following – was also sentenced on Wednesday to an additional 149 days’ jail.

Serial cheat

This was not the fist time Zarifi had been convicted of such offences. In March 2016, he was handed a 20-month jail term and a $60,000 fine after being convicted of unlicensed moneylending, criminal breach of trust and cheating others using the same scam.

With regard to his most recent offences, the court heard that between 20 April and 16 July last year, Zarifi would give his victims a small sum of money in exchange for the mobile phones that were bundled with the telco contracts they signed up for.

He made his victims believe that they would not have to pay a termination penalty if they ended their mobile phone subscription. Zarifi’s victims would then introduce their friends to the conman.

Zarifi would then sell the mobile phones he received – which included Apple iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S8 models – to third-party mobile phone shops.

He then spent half of his gains on repaying gambling debts and the rest on going to nightclubs, hotel stays, food and transport. Only $1,227.55 was recovered from him.

In addition to the mobile phone scam, Zarifi also cheated one victim into believing that he would generate a $5,000 return from a $1,500 investment. As a result, the victim transferred him $1,500 but received no returns.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Alexandria Shamini Joseph asked for at least 60 months’ imprisonment for the cheating charges. Zarifi, who was unrepresented, apologised to the court for his actions.

For cheating, Zarifi could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined on each count.

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