SPF| Police Life | Crime File: E-Commerce Fraud Involving 396 Victims

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ARTWORK: Aniq Anaqi

The police follow a series of elaborate, carefully planned frauds to arrest the perpetrator.

Author: Alethea Lee

From October 2018 to June 2020, police received a number of reports of fraud committed by accused Poh Zhenlong Caine on a popular online platform for buying and selling goods and services. The suspect committed fraudulent activities by selling tickets to popular attractions (such as Universal Studios Singapore) and concerts. Officers from the Anti-Fraud Command (ASCom) quickly launched an investigation against Poh.

The cheater’s methods
Poh defrauded his victims by deceiving them about the tickets they sold. He posted his fake tickets on an online e-commerce platform, creating multiple email accounts using the phone numbers of people he contacted in various Facebook groups.

Poh downloaded photos of tickets from the Internet and edited them before sending them to his victims. Victims who were defrauded transferred money for tickets to various bank accounts. Poh broke off contact with them shortly thereafter.

To facilitate his crimes, Poh also used a virtual private network whenever he went online to commit fraud. He then spent the money received from his victims on online gambling.

Items confiscated at the exhibition.  PHOTO: SPF
Items confiscated at the exhibition. PHOTO: SPF

Building a case
ASCom officers began by checking the phone numbers Poh used to create accounts on the online e-commerce platform. They also analyzed the monetary path of victim funds.

After months of investigation, officers determined that Poh’s online gambling winnings went into two bank accounts – his mother’s and his late father’s. Disproportionate amounts of money were transferred to these accounts.

On June 16, 2020, ASCom officers conducted a planned raid and arrested Poha, seizing incriminating evidence of his fraud.

Poh is escorted back to the investigation.  PHOTO: SPF
Poh is escorted back to the investigation. PHOTO: SPF

In total, Poh defrauded 396 victims of more than $108,000. He was convicted of the crimes and received a five-year prison sentence and a $17,000 fine. The police take people involved in fraud seriously and perpetrators will be prosecuted according to the law.

Criminal files
Police Life highlights current investigations that police officers have been conducting to keep Singapore safe. Watch the reconstruction of this case on Crimewatch, episode 2, 2023!