Bogus priestess jailed a year for cheating retiree

SEREMBAN: A 29-year-old woman who claimed to be a priestess and messenger of a goddess was ordered to serve 12 months in jail after she pleaded guilty at the Magistrate’s Court here to cheating a retiree.

N. Hemavathy, who works as a dishwasher, did not contest the charge after it was read to her before Magistrate Mohamad Ibrahim Mohammad Ghulam on Tuesday (Feb 14).

She was charged with deceiving Lai Chin Keong into believing that she was a priestess and messenger of a goddess.

The victim fell for her ploy and transferred RM8,750 into her bank account.

Hemavathy was accused of committing the offence at Terminal One here between Oct 26 and Dec 22.

She was charged under Section 417 of the Penal Code which provides a jail term of up to five years, a fine or both upon conviction.

According to the facts of the case, the accused contacted the victim and told him she knew he had been a devotee of the goddess for the past 30 years and had been donating generously to temples built in her name.

She then told the victim that she had a “message” for him from the goddess who wanted to make him richer and that he was lucky to be the chosen one.

The accused also told the victim that if he gave her money, the goddess would also bless him with good health.

The accused, who was represented by PA Krishnaveni from the Legal Aid Bureau, pleaded for a minimum fine as she was remorseful.

The accused, a divorcee, said she had a 10-year-old son as well as siblings to provide for.

Hemavathy, the second of seven children, said she came from a poor family and her father was the sole breadwinner. She also promised not to repeat the offence.

Deputy public prosecutor Nurul Muhaimin Mohd Azman urged the court to impose a sentence commensurate with the offence.

“The accused deceived a retiree by claiming to be a priestess and messenger.

“I also urge the court to take public interest into account in sentencing the accused,” she added.