BY IAN POH, Straits Times

A SERIAL cheat gave his victims cheques as payment for religious artwork, baby strollers, laptops and even the lease for an apartment in Katong – even though he did not have the money in the bank to pay for them.

On some occasions, he would even hand over cheques linked to accounts that had already been closed.

Mohamed Amir Mohamed Tafel, 31 and jobless, is believed to have sold off some of the goods, worth about $10,000, and pocketed the proceeds. Yesterday, he was sentenced to three years and four months in prison after pleading guilty to 14 charges.

Besides cheating, these included unrelated drug and criminal breach of trust offences, plus the unlawful possession of a knuckle duster, which also saw him sentenced to six strokes of the cane.

Another 28 assorted charges were taken into consideration.

The court heard that Mohamed Amir’s crimes were committed between February 2012 and March this year and involved more than $12,000. His loot included rhinestone photo frames and Quran electronic pen sets.

Only $400 worth of the lost goods has been recovered and no restitution has been made.

The former bartender gave dud cheques to victims, including two merchants who had set up booths at the Singapore Expo, an online baby product business and IT product dealers.

On one occasion, he conned a home owner into giving him a one-year lease for an apartment at the Suites @ Katong condominium after purportedly paying $5,200 in deposit and a month’s rent.

Mohamed Amir, who is married with an 18-month-old son, had a slew of previous unrelated convictions dating back to 2003.

For each count of cheating his victims into handing over their property to him, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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