SINGAPORE — Three men separately thought that they had found the love of their life in Joceyln Kwek Sok Koon. Instead, two later found their bank accounts emptied and one was cheated his family of their savings after falling for her.
Love was not the only tool Kwek used to scam her victims. She sometimes posed as the daughter of a family in the freight trading business and cheated people who trusted her as their god-daughter.
She also cheated her husband’s colleague of S$338,600 through lies that she had leukaemia, and that she could help him handle his Singapore permanent residency application.
Beyond monetary loss, the colleague faced investigations by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority for overstaying.
In total, Kwek cheated at least 10 victims of at least S$880,448.40, and some of the offences were committed while she was on bail awaiting trial for her crimes.
On Thursday (Oct 12), Kwek, 49, pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal breach of trust, and six charges of cheating. Another 17 similar charges were taken into consideration.
She will be back in court on Oct 31 for mitigation submissions and sentencing.
CONSPIRED WITH LOVER TO CHEAT HIS FAMILY
Sometime in July 2016, Kwek got to know Lai Sze Yin, 28, and they entered a romantic relationship although Kwek was married with two children.
In order to conceal her real identity, Kwek was known to Lai’s family as “Rachel Lam”.
Lai’s family knew that “Rachel” was the same age as him and that she studied at the National University of Singapore.
Kwek never met Lai’s parents but would speak to them over the phone and buy them gifts.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Phoebe Tan said that Lai’s parents trusted her so much that his mother asked Kwek to treat her “like her mother” and told her that she was “one of her children”.
Lying about a potential investment among other things, Kwek and Lai cheated his parents and younger sister of a total of S$150,454, court documents stated. However, Kwek’s charges related to S$89,000 of the total sum.
Lai’s mother made a police report on Oct 30, 2018 after Kwek did not return their investment money. After the report was filed, Kwek made multiple phone calls to Lai’s parents, hoping that they would drop the case.
“In a bid to evade legal consequences, (Kwek) told them that they were landing their son in trouble by escalating the matter to the police,” DPP Tan said.
“She told the accused’s parents to tell the police that it was a misunderstanding, to make the report go away.”
Lai was jailed for one year and three months in 2021 for his actions.
OTHER LOVERS SENT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
Kwek did not only steal money from Lai’s parents and younger sister. DPP Tan told the court of her other ruses to get money, including through two love scams.
One of her victims was 35-year-old Luo Jingcheng whom Kwek had met while he was working at security agency Certis Cisco.
After contacting Kwek regarding an email for work, the duo started interacting personally, and Mr Luo soon fell in love.
They never met in person, and Kwek would reject his video calls with various excuses.
Although he discovered later that photos sent by Kwek purportedly of herself were of a Korean blogger, Mr Luo still maintained his relationship with her.
Kwek then lied that a friend and her god-mother were having financial difficulties, deceiving Mr Luo into sending her S$40,805 between Sept 19, 2017 and July 31, 2018.
Another victim of Kwek’s love scam was 39-year-old Jason Toh, whom Kwek kept in contact with until the day her bail was revoked on April 18 last year.
The duo knew of each other sometime in 2020 while Mr Toh worked as a salesman at a piano shop. As they communicated over messages, Kwek posed as an only child of a family that had a freight forwarding business.
She did not take any money from Mr Toh at first, but built up his trust by buying expensive abalone from Mr Toh’s friend in bulk.
Mr Toh continued to be in a relationship with her even after he realised that the pictures Kwek had sent of herself was a picture from another person.
She had sent a screenshot of an Instagram profile to him, DPP Tan said, without adding why the victim continued to see Kwek.
In response to her claims that she could buy electronics and high-end watches at lower prices and he could invest in her family’s freight forwarding business, he transferred S$89,210 to her.
To come up with this sum, Mr Toh took loans from his family and friends.
Kwek also lied about providing Mr Toh a job at her family’s business, putting him into financial difficulties because he quit his job as a salesperson.
Mr Toh made a police report on April 20 last year after Kwek stopped responding to his messages on the phone and calls two days before — the same day her bail was revoked and she was put in remand.
DPP Tan called for a sentence between 91 months’ and 100 months’ jail, describing Kwek as “a seasoned and skilled manipulator who repeatedly and brazenly flouted the law”.
She noted that Kwek had built trust with her victims before cheating them, and some of her offences were committed while on bail.
DPP Tan also said that some of Kwek’s victims made police reports after her bail was revoked and they could not contact her.
For criminal breach of trust, Kwek faces a jail term of up to seven years or a fine, or both.
She also faces up to 10 years in jail and a fine for each count of her cheating offences.