Man jailed for cheating S$700 from Singapore Foodpanda, GrabFood by taking food he sent to neighbours’ homes

Leonard Tan Tong Han set up several accounts with GrabFood and Foodpanda using fake names and random phone numbers, and could not be contacted after food deliveries were made. — Picture courtesy of foodpanda
Leonard Tan Tong Han set up several accounts with GrabFood and Foodpanda using fake names and random phone numbers, and could not be contacted after food deliveries were made. — Picture courtesy of foodpanda

SINGAPORE, Sept 18 — In a bid to fraudulently get free food, a 27-year-old unemployed man placed numerous orders with GrabFood and Foodpanda using his neighbours’ addresses.

Leonard Tan Tong Han used the “cash on delivery” option and told the delivery riders to leave the food outside his neighbours’ flats in Chua Chu Kang.

However, he never paid the riders through PayNow or PayLah as promised. He ended up cheating the two food delivery firms of S$731 (RM2,222) in total.

Tan was jailed a week yesterday after pleading guilty to four cheating charges. Another nine charges were considered for sentencing.

Between Feb 25 and March 14 this year, he placed 13 orders using the addresses of people who lived in the flats directly below or above his own.

He set up several accounts on the Grab and Foodpanda mobile applications using fake names and random phone numbers. This meant that he could not be contacted after the deliveries were completed.

Before the food arrived, he left instructions on the respective apps for the delivery riders, saying he would pay them through the cashless options after they left the food at the flats.

He would then collect the food after seeing that the orders were completed on the apps. 

The first time, he placed a Pizza Hut order for S$118. When the delivery rider returned to the flat to ask for payment, the resident explained that he did not order the food.

The resident then made a police report, saying he had received two pizza delivery orders that day and that the pizza later went missing.

In another incident, Tan told a Foodpanda rider to leave S$91 worth of food on a shoe rack at his neighbour’s flat. He lied that he was picking up his children from hospital and told the rider he would pay for the food via PayNow to the rider’s own account.

PayNow enables customers of participating banks to transfer money to others using only their mobile numbers or identity card numbers.

On Tan’s instructions, the rider sent a photo of the food on the shoe rack to Tan through a WhatsApp message before leaving.

When Tan did not respond, the rider grew suspicious and returned to the flat. He realised that the food was gone and knocked on the door.

The same neighbour answered the door and told him that this had happened before.

The delivery rider then reported the matter to Foodpanda and made a police report.

In mitigation, Tan’s lawyer, TM Sinnadurai, said that his client regretted committing the offences and “has consumed” all of the food.

Tan is a single parent of a three-year-old girl and takes care of her along with his parents, the lawyer added.

He has made full restitution to Foodpanda and GrabFood.

While Mr Sinnadurai asked for community-based sentences to be imposed, Principal District Judge Toh Han Li rejected this.

Tan will begin serving his sentence on October 1. He could have been jailed up to three years or fined, or received both penalties for each cheating charge. — TODAY

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