Family of scammers: Woman charged with misappropriating donations for ‘cancer treatment’

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A 60-year-old woman pleaded not guilty at the Shah Alam magistrate’s court for allegedly misappropriating money believed to have been donated by a 27-year-old woman for her daughter’s cancer treatment.

Eizairi Shamsudin/NST

The accused, Vijaya Lakshmi Veemathurai, claimed trial under Section 403 of the Penal Code, which carries a prison sentence of six months to five years and a fine.

Based on the charges, Vijaya was accused of fraudulently misusing money transferred to her bank account via online near Bandar Rahman Putra, Sungai Buloh.

Deputy public prosecutor Erneetha Kaur Baghwant Singh offered Vijaya bail of RM7,000 with one surety.

The accused’s lawyer, Mohd Safwan Saleh, however, requested that the bail amount be reduced as his client and her husband were not working, and had to rely on one of their children. The accused also has a child with special needs under her care.

Magistrate Sasha Diana Sabtu set bail at RM4,000 with one surety.

The court also set June 7 for remention.

Earlier, the accused was arrested along with her 28-year-old son to assist in the investigation into fraudulent activity or scams requesting contributions or donations through social media.

Selangor police chief Datuk Hussein Omar Khan said the police found RM110,011 in cash believed to have been donated by private individuals that were to be sent to India illegally. The police also found RM208,000 in the accused’s account which is also believed to be the result of public donations.

On March 30, the New Straits Times reported that a family of scammers have been on a “donation” collection spree allegedly to raise money for their 33-year-old cancer-stricken daughter who was warded in a hospital in Thirichy, India.

The family requested for donations from the public, VIPs, politicians and non-governmental organisations, and had gathered hundreds of thousands of ringgit, including RM308,000 this month after seeking help from local social media influencer V Muralitharan.

Muralitharan lodged two reports after confirming with the hospital in India that no such patient existed.

The scam, however, has apparently been going on since at least 2014 and the family has allegedly raised hundreds of thousands of ringgit in funds, aided by social media influencers who were duped into helping them. – NST