‘Habitual scammer’ poses as wealthy Korean heir to buy properties, boyfriend has lied to police
SINGAPORE: A Singaporean posed as a wealthy Korean heir to view and buy properties, writing checks for more than S$2million even though he knew they would bounce.
Jerald Low Jing Yong, 27, wanted to use call options to brag to his friends that he could afford an expensive property. As part of the act, he dyed his hair and took on the name “Park Joon Hyung.”
It was just one of a long series of tricks by Low to project an image of wealth in order to take advantage of the multiple victims around him. He pleaded guilty on Wednesday March 16 to 16 counts, mostly of cheating, and 35 others were considered for sentencing.
Low’s victims included romantic partners he had met online, friends and employees. His “network of lies” cost his victims more than S$150,000 and resulted in one of them having a relapse of bipolar disorder, the prosecution said.
As police investigations closed in on him, Low found a way to escape responsibility, convincing his boyfriend to take responsibility for his crimes.
As part of this, he falsely alleged rape and sexual assault by her boyfriend, causing police to waste significant resources investigating his allegations.
District Judge Soh Tze Bian called Low “a habitual, remorseless crook” who planned each of his offenses. He was sentenced to 67 months in prison, fined S$1,800 and banned from driving for up to a year after his release from prison.
“PARK JOON HYUNG”
Low hatched a plan to buy properties in May 2019 when he was introduced to a real estate agent.
He pretended to be a wealthy Korean named Park Joon Hyung, and the agent took Low to visit various properties for three days.
Low issued 13 checks for at least seven properties, with developers like Keppel Bay and Angullia Development among the beneficiaries.
However, the sellers informed Low and his agent that the checks could not clear and eventually released the properties to other potential buyers.
Scammed his romantic partners
The bulk of the charges Low brought were for telecommunications scams, where he persuaded victims to subscribe to phone lines by lying to them that he would pay the charges. He often claimed that he needed the numbers for work purposes.
In reality, Low wanted his victims to turn over the cell phones from contract plans so he could sell them for quick cash. He also wanted mobile lines to buy game credits on iTunes.
Low cheated on four men he met on a gay dating app and online forum with this method.
In one instance, he connected with a 24-year-old man on the forum. When they met on New Year’s Eve in 2018, Low told the man he “wanted to start the new year with a new boyfriend.”
The next day, Low rented a car which he used to transport the other man. He also claimed that his father worked in the oil and gas industry in South Korea and had millions of dollars in his bank account.
This gave the man the impression that Low was wealthy and sincere about starting a relationship with him, the prosecution said.
Later that day, Low persuaded the man to sign seven phone line contracts. The man received six cell phones from the contracts, which he gave to Low.
Low sold the handsets on January 4, 2019. But when the man asked Low to reimburse him for the costs he incurred on the contracts, which amounted to over S$5,000, Low refused and blocked his number.
CAUSED VICTIM’S BIPOLAR DISORDER TO RELAPSE
Low also started a shell company called Fitness Tea. In October 2018, a woman responded to a job posting for the company that involved posting jobs online and interviewing candidates.
Low interviewed and hired her on October 26, 2018.
He then persuaded the woman to take out five phone contracts, saying they were necessary for the business.
On October 27, 2018, Low also agreed to register a marriage with the woman and filed a marriage notice online.
At this point, the woman’s sister-in-law told her that Low might be a con artist. Shortly after, the woman suffered a relapse of her bipolar disorder and was admitted to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) from October 30 to December 24, 2018.
Some of the woman’s symptoms included “delusions of love,” according to a February 2019 IMH report.
CHECK WRITTEN FOR S$1 BILLION
In early 2018, Low came up with the idea of issuing checks to his own bank account even though he knew they would bounce. He thought it would temporarily increase his account balance, which he could show to other people.
Around April 5, 2018, Low took his mother’s checkbook and wrote himself a check for S$1 trillion. He forged his signature on the check and deposited it with the OCBC bank.
Due to the abnormally high value of the check, OCBC inquired about the status of her mother’s bank account and found that it was closed. The check was not processed further and a bank representative filed a police report.
Low has also issued checks made out to him on at least four other occasions, as well as checks to entities such as the Central Provident Fund Board, Housing Development Board, Bishan-Toa Payoh City Council, and utility companies. assurance. None of these checks have been cashed.
He also ran scams involving car rentals using other people’s contact details. One of his victims was a man whose NRIC and driver’s license Low obtained photos of when they exchanged details after a traffic accident in May 2018.
Low used the man’s contact information to create an account with Tribecar, renting vehicles a total of 18 times between December 14, 2018 and January 25, 2019. On two occasions while driving the rental car, Low ran through a red light and hit another vehicle. in an underground car park.
The man whom Low had impersonated received summonses and letters from an attorney and NTUC Income for these traffic incidents, after which he filed police reports that he had never drives the car.
BOYFRIEND CONVINCED OF LYING TO POLICE
In early 2020, Low met with his co-defendant Desmond Poon Jun Yee, 22. Low lied that he was the manager and owner of a well-known bubble tea franchise and the men struck up a relationship.
Aware that he was under investigation by the police, Low devised a plan to convince Poon to take responsibility for all of his infractions. He managed to convince Poon to agree to this plan.
On September 9, 2020, Low made a false police report that he had committed his offenses on Poon’s instructions since 2018. He claimed that Poon had threatened to harm him and his family and l physically assaulted.
On November 23, 2020, while investigations against him were still ongoing, Low made a second false police report alleging that Poon had “mentally and physically tortured” him.
In March 2021, he managed to convince Poon to include an element of sexual assault in their lies to the police to make his earlier reports “more believable”.
Low alleged in a police interview on April 9, 2021 that Poon raped him more than 15 times. He made a third false police report later that day accusing Poon of sexual assault between 2018 and 2020.
He maintained those claims in subsequent statements to police and was sent for a medical examination for sexual assault.
From October 2020 to April 2021, Poon also repeatedly lied to police to support Low’s false police reports. He only revealed the truth in his final videotaped interview where he said he hadn’t raped or threatened Low.
The prosecution requested a 68-month prison sentence for Low along with the fine and driving ban imposed.
“The defendant’s conduct was sustained, premeditated and well planned. He preyed on victims who sought companionship on social media and dating apps, then systematically abused their trust,” the prosecution said.
“The defendant has demonstrated that he is a recalcitrant offender who has no qualms about breaking the law to meet his needs.”
Low’s pro bono defense attorney requested that his client plead guilty instead of seeking a trial.