SINGAPORE — A man who moved in with his severely ill girlfriend to care for her stole more than $52,000 of her savings instead.
Over two months, Marcus Kong Wei Keong, now 34, withdrew money using her credit and ATM cards. With his girlfriend's money, Kong pretended to pay for the treatment of her severe eczema to pass off as a "good" and "caring" boyfriend.
Kong was jailed for one year, five months and eight weeks on Wednesday (11 May). He was earlier convicted of 53 charges after trial. These include giving false information regarding an offence, theft, and for illicitly accessing his ex-girlfriend’s bank accounts for the purpose of transferring funds.
Kong moved in with the victim around May 2015. The next month, he began pilfering her credit and ATM cards while she was sleeping or away. In total – until August 2015 – he illicitly transferred funds and withdrew cash amounting to $52,200.51.
He learnt of her personal identification number from bank letters “lying around”.
Kong claimed there was an agreement
On 17 August 2015, Kong’s girlfriend lodged a police report stating that around $8,000 had been transferred from her bank account to Kong’s. That same day, Kong himself lodged a police report. He later told a police officer he had no idea how the money had been transferred from his girlfriend’s account to his.
During trial, Kong’s defence was that there had been an agreement between him and his girlfriend, under which he was free to use her credit cards as he pleased. However, the court found no such agreement.
Without the victim’s knowledge, Kong used her money to pay for her skin creams, daily expenses and doctor visits, wanting to impress her and to prove to her that he could contribute to her expenses, even though he could not.
In fact, Kong’s monthly bank statements during the offence period showed that he had less than $10 in his account at multiple points.
"The evidence shows that the accused used monies he did not have to buy items for (his girlfriend) to portray himself as a good boyfriend, in hopes he could continue living in (her) house for free," said the prosecution, which called for at least 21 months' jail for Kong.
The prosecution considered Kong's grave abuse of trust of a sick and vulnerable victim. The victim had testified that she had struggled to pay off debts, some of which had been incurred due to the fraudulent transactions.
She was also interviewed multiple times by her company because of the offences. Her bonuses and lump sum payments had also been withheld due to the ensuing disciplinary issues.
She eventually sought counselling for her emotional trauma.
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