Suspended sentence for scamster

2017-04-05 10:28
The alleged scamster Charlene Singh pleded guilty to charges of theft on Tuesday at the Howick Magistrate's Court.

The alleged scamster Charlene Singh pleded guilty to charges of theft on Tuesday at the Howick Magistrate's Court. (File)

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Although alleged scamster Charlene Singh pled guilty to charges of theft on Tuesday, her two young children may have saved her from a jail term.

Singh appeared briefly at the Howick Magistrate’s Court. She was arrested for stealing valuables from an Amberglen Retirement Village and Frail Care Centre resident in September last year.

Singh pleaded guilty to posing as a private masseuse to enter the woman’s home where she stole a gold watch, a silver chain, a Celtic cross, a gold wedding band, a leather pouch containing R500 cash, credit and banking cards, a driver’s licence, identity documents, two bottles of perfume and a cheque book.

Adorned with bracelets, a watch and sporting a bandage on her index finger, Singh listened as the magistrate, Mlungisi Ngubane, found her guilty as charged.

Singh’s defence pleaded with the court for leniency, saying she has two minor children dependents, and acted out of desperation.

However, the state argued that the theft was well thought out and none of the items, one of which holds sentimental value to the victim, have been recovered.

Singh’s children, aged 17 and 12, are currently being cared for by their grandmother.

Ngubane decided that Singh has no prior convictions and if it were not for her children, her punishment would have had greater severity.

He handed down a 12-month jail sentence, which was wholly suspended for five years.

After Ngubane retired to his chambers, Singh raised her hands in prayer and slowly left the dock.

However, she is not completely in the clear.

She is expected to face more than 30 counts of theft in Durban.

Singh was arrested last year by Pietermaritzburg Hawks investigator Captain Jageesh Devnarain “JD” Singh, who traced her and an alleged accomplice to Westville prison where they were being held at the time on a charge of possession of cocaine.

Singh is still under investigation in connection with numerous alleged scams involving stealing from the sick and elderly.

One of these scams was the so-called “hospital hustlers” scam in which two people (reportedly women) stole goods from vulnerable and ill patients at hospitals in Pietermaritzburg and Howick.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court

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