The State Courts / photo: Terry Xu

Former grassroots volunteer sentenced to eight years’ jail after cheating $1.4 million using MP’s name

A former grassroots volunteer from Sembawang GRC has been sentenced to eight years' jail after cheating 12 victims of more than $1.4 million by using the name of an MP for the constituency, Mr Ong Ye Kung.

Chng pleaded guilty to 30 charges out of the 94 counts of committing forgery for the purpose of cheating, 35 counts of cheating, 22 counts of converting the benefits of his criminal conduct and one count of obtaining a personal loan when he was an undischarged bankrupt.

According to Straits Times, Reichie Chng Teck Kiam, 51, was first charged in court in July last year and was slapped with more than 100 additional charges.

He is accused of cheating 12 people between November 2012 and March 2017, of between $2,000 and $250,000 each.

Chng is accused of making a false electronic record on 31 Aug 2017 by capturing a screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation purportedly carried out between him and Mr Ong in relation to an investment scheme that the minister was supposedly participating in. He was said to have created the record with the intention of giving the impression that Mr Ong had made it.

Chng also allegedly used the electronic record to cheat one Tan Boon Hai into consenting that Chng retain some property and accused of targeting the same victim by using a similar method three months later.

He is also accused of converting the benefits of his criminal conduct into casino chips from Marina Bay Sands Casino.

In 2013, he allegedly obtained a personal loan of $50,000 from one Chua Boon Joon without informing the latter that he was an undischarged bankrupt.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Vikneswaran Kumaran told the court that Chng forged multiple WhatsApp text conversations, purportedly between him and Mr Ong, to convince victims to participate in an investment scheme that he claimed Mr Ong and his wife were involved in.

Mr Ong lodged a police report in March last year after being alerted by one of Chng's victims.

Mr Ong is the advisor of the constituency that Chng was volunteering at and also the Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence.

In an earlier statement to the media, Mr Ong confirmed that Chng was a grassroots volunteer in his constituency. He gave the reassurance that he and his volunteers were committed to continue serving residents.

For cheating, Chng could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each charge.

For each count of forgery for the purpose of cheating, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.