On 14 September 2020, 58-year-old Tan Yock Eng (Tan) was sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment for her involvement in money laundering offences after she pleaded guilty to, and was convicted on:
- two counts under Section 47(2)(b) of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA), for transferring and removing from jurisdiction property that she had reasonable grounds to believe, in whole directly represented another person’s benefits from criminal conduct; and
- two counts under Section 47(3) of the CDSA for having possession of, and acquiring property that she had reasonable grounds to believe, in whole directly represented another person’s benefits from criminal conduct.
One count under Section 48(C)(1) of the CDSA – for moving out of Singapore cash, the total value of which exceeds the prescribed amount (or its equivalent in foreign currency), without giving a report in respect of the movement – was taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.
Tan was a real estate agent at the material time when she acted as a money mule for her overseas boyfriend known to her as Dieter. She furnished details of two of her bank accounts – a Maybank account and a CIMB account – for the purpose of receiving moneys on Dieter’s behalf. Following Dieter’s instructions, Tan withdrew the funds that she received through her bank accounts and transferred these funds to associates of Dieter who were unknown to her.
The funds were in fact fraudulently obtained from two separate victims, PT Visindo Anugrahtama based in Indonesia, and Dominant Australia Pty Ltd based in Australia, in 2015 and 2017 respectively. The victims were cheated through e-mail impersonation scams into transferring funds into Tan’s bank accounts. In total, Tan received SGD 128,650.05 from the victims.
On 29 May 2015, Tan withdrew SGD 47,000 in cash and exchanged it for an equivalent amount in Malaysia Ringgit. She then transferred the moneys via a cash deposit ATM machine near Taman Pelangi in Johor Bahru into an Alliance Bank account despite not knowing the said account holder. She did not make the requisite report that she was moving out of Singapore cash exceeding SGD 20,000 on 29 May 2015. On 26 April 2017, Tan also passed SGD 46,000 in cash to two individuals unknown to her. SGD 35,363.56 was recovered by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force.
Prior to the receipt of the moneys from Indonesia and Australia, Tan was investigated by Jurong Police Division on 11 November 2014, in relation to receiving SGD 7,000 derived from a fraud in a separate Maybank account she had. She was later issued with a Letter of Advice (LOA) on 30 March 2015, which serves as an official notice to refrain from receiving or dealings with funds from unknown and/or dubious sources, and to report such transactions to CAD.
Despite having been issued with the LOA, Tan continued to have dealings with Dieter. She opened a new Maybank account as well as CIMB account and provided the details to Dieter. As a result, on 27 May 2015, the Maybank account received the sum of SGD 47,392.20 from the Indonesian victim’s transfer, and on 25 April 2017, the CIMB account received SGD 81,257.85 from the Australian victim’s transfer.
Tan persisted in fulfilling her role as a money mule even after being cautioned against participating in such activity, resulting in the victims losing a total of SGD 93,286.49.
Any person who commits an offence under Section 47 of the CDSA shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or to both. Any person who contravenes Section 48(C)(1) of the CDSA shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both.
Money laundering offences are grave in nature as they allow benefits generated from serious crimes to be passed on to perpetrators of the predicate crimes, through multiple layers of money launderers as intermediaries. There is a need to deter offenders from using Singapore’s financial system as a refuge or conduit for illicit funds as it affects Singapore’s reputation as an international financial centre.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
15 September 2020 @ 5:00 PM