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Three men failed to extort money from a businessman over his sex tapes. So a fourth man tried again

SINGAPORE — Strapped for cash and needing to renovate his Build-to-Order (BTO) flat, a 28-year-old sales manager at a debt collection firm agreed to work with someone else to extort S$50,000 from a married businessman using compromising videos of him taken in secret.

Three men failed to extort money from a businessman over his sex tapes. So a fourth man tried again

Mahadevan Edwyn, 28, had heard about the foiled attempt at a friend’s birthday party, around a week after one of the accomplices, 24-year-old Tan Yong Jian, had been released on bail. Edwyn then decided to work with Tan on a second attempt to extort money from the businessman.

  • Mahadevan Edwyn participated in an extortion attempt on a married businessman
  • He threatened to release compromising videos of the businessman
  • The videos had been taken in secret by an employee of the businessman
  • The employee had already been arrested for an earlier extortion attempt on the businessman

 

SINGAPORE — Strapped for cash and needing to renovate his Build-to-Order (BTO) flat, a 28-year-old sales manager at a debt collection firm agreed to work with someone else to extort S$50,000 from a married businessman using compromising videos of him taken in secret.

Mahadevan Edwyn, who worked for Justice Debt Recovery, pleaded guilty on Monday (Oct 18) to one charge of criminal intimidation by anonymous communication with common intention.

The court heard that Edwyn was roped in to be part of an extortion attempt on the 53-year-old businessman, who cannot be named due to a gag order.

This was the second time that the businessman was targeted for extortion.

The videos used in the extortion attempt was from a surveillance camera that had been secretly installed by the businessman’s 23-year-old employee on top of a bookshelf in the businessman’s home in late 2019.

The camera, which would alert the subordinate whenever someone was in the room, was left in the victim’s home for about three weeks, during which time the businessman engaged in sexual activity with another man on at least five different occasions.

Before Edwyn got involved, the subordinate who had installed the camera had first worked with two others in March last year to attempt to extort S$60,000 from the businessman, setting up a Telegram group chat titled “Heist” to discuss and coordinate plans.

But the plan failed when the trio were arrested that same month after the businessman reported the matter to the police after suspecting that the videos had been recorded by one of his personal assistants who had access to his house.

Edwyn heard about the foiled attempt at a friend’s birthday party, around a week after one of the accomplices, 24-year-old Tan Yong Jian, had been released on bail. Edwyn then decided to work with Tan on a second attempt to extort money from the businessman.

Tan promised to split with him half of the ransom, which they decided to set at S$50,000, and Edwyn agreed as his income had been affected by the economic downturn and he needed money to renovate his new BTO flat, the court heard.

In preparation for the extortion attempt, Edwyn bought two unregistered SIM cards from his friend who worked as a sales assistant at a handphone shop, and purchased a S$60 mobile phone that only allows its user to call and send messages via SMS.

He then sent the businessman the extortion messages at 4.18pm on April 3 that year, demanding the man to hand over S$50,000 in cash within 24 hours or else the videos of him “committing gay acts” would be uploaded on Facebook and other forums.

When the victim did not reply to his messages in the next three hours, he messaged the victim “the clock is ticking”. Still, the victim did not reply, so he texted again at 9.13pm: “u don’t know how to reply? Don’t make me irritated”.

The businessman only responded at around midnight, asking for his identity and clarifying the nature of the videos referred to in his earlier message. It prompted Edwyn to text him in return: “Save your words for someone who care, because I don’t. I only want money or ruining people’s lives, its your choice.”

The businessman claimed that did not have money and that his bank account had incurred an overdraft of S$3,000. The next afternoon, he urged the extorter to not “push the horse off the cliff”, adding that he needed time – about a week to pay up the ransom.

Edwyn became suspicious upon reading the messages and finding out that the police had visited the handphone shop where his friend worked, and later threw the S$60 phone, his own mobile phone and the unregistered SIM cards away when the 24-hour deadline was up.

The police still managed to trace him down that day, arresting him by around 9pm.

Edwyn will return to court on Nov 29 to be sentenced.

Tan, the person who roped him into the scheme, had been sentenced to 22 months in jail for his part in the scheme earlier this year.

Related topics

crime court extort criminal intimidation

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