Any trading card game (TCG) enthusiast and collector would know the hobby requires dedication and a healthy flow of cash. So when buyers didn’t get their Pokémon cards from a Carousell user after placing deposits, one of which includes a S$80,000 sum, they were justifiably upset.
As it turns out, the no-show was part of a larger swindling scheme by Koh Jia Wen, who cheated buyers of S$216,873 in total. The 26-year-old was sentenced to 31 months’ jail after pleading guilty to four counts of cheating, with 13 other similar charges taken into consideration during sentencing.
Koh started using her Carousell account to promote the sale of Pokémon cards sometime between 2021 and 2022. Upon contact, she would request for a 50 percent deposit from interested buyers, claiming the cards had to be pre-ordered, and directed them to put the sum into various bank accounts. It was later revealed none belonged to her, as she had been blacklisted from opening new bank accounts for undisclosed reasons.
Instead, these accounts were owned by Koh’s friends and acquaintances, who would withdraw the transferred money and hand it to her. In 2021, one buyer pre-ordered 74 cases — each holding six boxes with 36 packs of cards — and transferred a total of S$83,300, but walked away with only 10 cases. Another paid Koh S$79,675 from February to May last year, before a member of the Pokémon TCG Facebook group put things to an end. The enthusiast consolidated orders from everyone in the group and made a total transfer of S$20,840, filing a police report when the cards were not delivered.
Koh was arrested on 7 July last year. Prior to the incident, she also plotted to get new iPhones from local telco company Singtel, asking an acquaintance to sign up for mobile lines to obtain the phones and skip paying the bills.