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Woman jailed for cheating insurance agent of S$133,000, aided by son who posed as Chief Justice

SINGAPORE — An insurance agent took loans from friends and banks so that he could lend his client’s girlfriend and her son more than S$100,000, but it all turned out to be a scam perpetrated by the mother-son duo.

Woman jailed for cheating insurance agent of S$133,000, aided by son who posed as Chief Justice

Devaki Gopal Muthu arriving at the State Courts on March 4, 2022.

  • Devaki Gopal Muthu conspired with her son, Rajeshvran Veerappan, to scam an insurance agent
  • The pair posed as members of the judiciary to milk him of S$133,400 for “ongoing legal proceedings”
  • If he expressed reluctance, they said he would get in trouble with the courts
  • When they did not pay him back, he developed suicidal thoughts

SINGAPORE — An insurance agent took loans from friends and banks so he could lend his client’s girlfriend and her son more than S$100,000, but it all turned out to be a scam perpetrated by the mother-son duo.

When the pair did not pay the agent back, he struggled to repay everyone and he developed suicidal thoughts. His relationships with his family were also adversely affected, with his brother refusing to speak to him.

He can no longer visit his ageing mother who lives with his brother as well.

TODAY is not naming him at the request of the Attorney-General's Chambers due to the victim's circumstances.

On Friday (March 4), his late client’s girlfriend — Devaki Gopal Muthu, 61 — was sentenced to one year, eight months and two weeks’ jail for her actions.

She pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiring with her son Rajeshvran Veerappan, 38, to cheat the agent, who is now aged 71.

Rajeshvran has already served a 20-month jail term for his involvement in the scam.

The court heard that their scheme ran from Nov 24, 2016 to about May 12, 2017. Mother and son sent phone text messages and made calls to the agent, telling him they needed money to pay for expenses relating to ongoing legal proceedings.

On numerous occasions, Rajeshvran even posed as prominent members of the judiciary such as Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Senior District Judge Bala Reddy, so that the victim would transfer money to them.

Similarly, Devaki would call him and pretend to be a court secretary named Sara Goh.

When the agent expressed any reluctance to transfer money, Devaki and Rajeshvran told him he would get into trouble with the courts.

They both promised to pay him back the full sum once the legal proceedings concluded. They never did.

The pair induced him to transfer large sums of up to S$10,000 each on 38 occasions, either to Devaki’s or Rajeshvran’s bank account.

They ended up cheating him of S$113,400.

DELAYED COURT PROCEEDINGS

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Samyata Ravindran pressed for 20 to 22 months’ jail, urging the court to consider the longer sentence because Devaki had “inordinately delayed court proceedings and wasted the court’s time”.

Multiple court hearings had been arranged for her to plead guilty and she initially wanted to claim trial. On the day it was meant to begin in January last year, Devaki claimed that she had Covid-19 and did not turn up.

“I don’t think it was true but in fact, she recently caught Covid-19,” DPP Samyata said.

The prosecutor added that Devaki had also failed to turn up for several pre-trial conferences and constantly vacillated between whether to plead guilty or not.

Within that period, Rajeshvran had completed his jail sentence and has since been charged with other offences.

In mitigation, Devaki’s lawyer, Mr Riyach Hussain from HC Law Practice, said that she “truly appreciates what she has done” and that “her first brush with the law has got her anxious and distressed”.

The defence counsel also said that her son was the mastermind who “completely devised” the modus operandi and she had merely followed his instructions to help him to procure money through deception.

Mr Hussain added that she is “of very little means”, lives in a rental flat and had decided to plead guilty at the end of the day.

In response, DPP Ravindran said that Devaki had gone along with the ploy at the end of the day and materially contributed to it.

“Of course, she couldn’t (pose as) the Chief Justice or Judge Reddy because she’s a lady. But she helped by pretending to be a court officer,” the prosecutor added.

District Judge Ng Peng Hong agreed that there was some degree of inordinate delay on Devaki’s part, noting that Rajeshvran had already been sentenced about two years ago.

Those convicted of cheating can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

Related topics

court crime cheating Scam Sundaresh Menon impersonation scam

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