On Saturday (4 September), a 45 year-old man in Johor was arrested by the police for allegedly scamming his co-workers and the public with a fake story of the death of his family members due to Covid-19 to collect donations.
The man had claimed that his mother, sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece, wife, and 8 children had died due to Covid-19.
According to Bernama, the man is a contract worker employed with Petronas’ Pengerang Integrated Complex in Kota Tinggi, Johor.
Meanwhile, the police officials said the suspect is believed to have spreading lies since June to take advantage of people’s sympathy and had collected donations through his bank account.
It is estimated that he has been collecting donations amounting to RM91,000 since he started spreading the claims.
Meanwhile, Kota Tinggi district police chief, Supt Hussin Zamora said the man had been spreading fake tragic stories through WhatsApp and Facebook.
“He claimed that he is facing a severe test over the loss of his family members, and donations were banked into his account.” Hussin said.
The note that was circulated on the Internet described the the heavy burden faced by the suspect who lost his wife and 3 children between June and July. Then in September, the message was apparently updated to say that his 5 children, mother, sister, in-laws and nephews and nieces had succumbed to Covid-19.
A series of screenshots were spreading on social media and this reveals just how deep the fake story had gone.
The man had even organised a virtual ‘tahlil’ and had his co-workers and bosses to attend and pay respects and mourn the family’s death.
On the other hand, Petronas has issued a statement to confirm that an employee of a contractor at the Pengerang Integrated Complex has been detained by the authorities.
“We are extending our fullest cooperation to the authorities in their investigation.” the company said, adding that they do not condone such misconduct by any of their employees and contractors.
The suspect is currently under remand for 4 days and Hussin said the case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.
If found guilty, the man could be whipped, fined, and jailed between 1 and 10 years.
Hussin then advised the public to stay vigilant before making any contributions or donations so they do not become a victim of frauds.
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