US-based Malaysia woman, Siew Im Cheah, has been sentenced to 51 months in jail for defrauding an official of the Virginia government of $300,000.
Cheah was jailed following a string of scams and identity theft, including using a phantom Nigerian oil deal.
Siew Im Cheah, 51, persuaded Jimmy Rhee, who at the time was Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s assistant commerce secretary, that she had connections in the oil and entertainment businesses and convinced him to invest $300,000 in the venture.
“She was always creating, manipulating a fictitious situation and environment,” Rhee told the Washington Post last week, adding that Cheah had financial documents that appeared to bolster her claims. “She was a master at that.”
Rhee said he once visited Cheah while she was sick and saw flowers with a card that appeared to be signed by former President Barack Obama, which he now believes she sent to herself. When he started asking Cheah to pay him back, she brought up her plans to build a training facility for the Washington Wizards.
The supposed partner for that project was Lawrence Jones, who was her boxing coach. Shortly after they met, she bought Jones a Porsche and urged him to pursue his dream of owning a gym. He said the situation turned into a “nightmare.”
“I felt obligated to be at her beck and call,” Jones said.
By Olusegun Akinleye