National

Fraudster spent big on luxury goods

By AAP Newswire

Siang Ng's financial deception scheme netted more than half a million dollars from unsuspecting customers.

But as sophisticated as his fraudulent operation was, he was not.

The 29-year-old used bank cards belonging to others to shop up a storm at luxury stores including Chanel, but he handed over his own VIP account details and gave them his girlfriend's address.

Ng, a Malaysian citizen, pleaded guilty to 17 charges, including obtaining $510,000 in financial advantage and property by deception, and attempting to obtain another $95,000.

For 12 months starting in June 2017 he was involved in an operation with three others, targeting banks in central Melbourne.

One of the group members would send a message to another, advising them to transfer specific amounts of money, ranging between $28,000 and $42,000.

The others would then go into a bank with fraudulent identification documents and transfer the funds from that person's bank account, without them knowing.

In October 2017 Ng sent a message to someone called Mel, telling them "my workers now at bank".

Prosecutors say the texts make it unclear just how senior Ng was in the operation.

It appeared at times that he was in charge of workers, but at other times sent photos of receipts which might be proof he was doing a job for someone else.

Either way, County Court Judge Gavan Meredith said Ng played a significant role in a sophisticated series of transactions.

He used other bank cards to purchase smartphones, spent $2000 on Givenchy distressed sweats and t-shirts and $16980 on handbags and costume jewellery at Chanel.

He gave his girlfriend's name and previous address at Givenchy, and used his own Chanel VIP account details.

Ng also spent $29,115 on a backpack, tote, sneaker boots, slippers, belts and a briefcase and more at Louis Vuitton.

Ng was later shown on CCTV footage, wearing the Givenchy sweats, trying to buy a $21,000 wallet, but the transaction was declined as suspicious. It wasn't the first time.

Police were alerted and searched Ng's home the following day, discovering the luxury goods.

He'll be sentenced later this year. Ng, whose student visa expired in 2016, is in immigration detention.