On 5 August 2022, Lai Chee Keong, a 71-year-old male Singaporean, was charged in court for his suspected involvement in money laundering.
On 18 September 2020, the Police received a report from a victim of an Internet Love Scam that she was defrauded into transferring $4,950/- to a bank account as a result of meeting someone online.
Investigations revealed that the victim had befriended an unknown person over a social media platform. Within a month of getting to know the other party, the victim was promised a parcel delivery containing money and jewellery. Subsequently, she received messages from a purported delivery company that her parcel had arrived at Customs, but she was required to pay $4,950 in order not to subject her parcel to investigations for money laundering. The victim did as instructed and transferred $4,950 to a nominated bank account, which turned out to be a bank account belonging to the 71-year-old man.
A total of seven bank accounts are alleged to have been involved in these offences, with five of them belonging to Lai Chee Keong. Of the remaining two bank accounts, one belonged to his wife and the other belonged to his friend. Police investigations show that a total of $222,193.25/- was transferred by victims of Internet Love Scam into these bank accounts.
Anyone found guilty of acquiring, possessing, using, concealing or transferring benefits from criminal conduct, under Section 54 of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act 1992 (“CDSA”), is liable to be punished with imprisonment of up to 10 years or to be fined up to $500,000, or both.
The offence of possessing or using property that may be reasonably suspected of being benefits of criminal conduct and failing to account satisfactorily how the person came by the property, under Section 55 of the CDSA carries an imprisonment term of up to 3 years or a fine up to $150,000, or both.
The offence of carry on a business of providing payment service without licence under Section 5(3) of the Payment Services Act 2019 is punishable with a fine up to $125,000 or to imprisonment for a term up to 3 years, or both.
The Police take a serious view of these offences and will not hesitate to take action against anyone involved in arrangements to allow his or her bank accounts, as well as other persons’ bank accounts, to be used for illegal purposes such as the laundering of criminal proceeds. To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to use their bank account as they will be held accountable if the bank accounts are linked to crimes.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
05 August 2022 @ 1:15 PM