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Woman Charged For Cheating Local Banks Into Opening Bank Accounts For The Laundering Of Proceeds From Internet Love Scams

A 64-year-old woman was charged on 28 April 2022 for allegedly conspiring with unknown persons to deceive two local banks into opening bank accounts for her, on the belief that the bank accounts would be used by her.  The woman was also charged for allegedly abetting unknown persons to secure unauthorised access to the banks’ computer systems when she provided them with internet banking login credentials and an ATM card. The bank accounts were used by criminals to launder proceeds of crime derived from three reported cases of Internet Love Scams. The woman also faces a further charge of carrying on the business of providing payment service in Singapore, for allegedly accepting money in her existing bank account for the purpose of transferring the proceeds to another party.

Three victims of Internet Love Scams had fallen in love with persons they met online on the social media platforms of Facebook and Instagram. Over time, the victims transferred a total amounting to S$121,000, at the request of their online lovers, for a variety of purposes. Some money was transferred purportedly to help ease cashflow problems; money was also transferred on the pretext of paying for fees needed to release parcels sent by their online lovers.

Police investigations revealed that the woman had befriended unknown persons over Facebook since 2019.  At the request of the online parties to help receive funds in Singapore for their businesses, the woman cheated two local banks into opening two bank accounts in her name, by deceiving the banks into believing that she was the person using these bank accounts.  The woman mailed a bank ATM card to an address in Malaysia, and she provided the internet banking login credentials to the persons she befriended online.

For conspiring to cheat the bank into opening the bank account, which act is likely to cause harm to the reputation of the bank, the offence under Section 417 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code carries an imprisonment term not exceeding three years, a fine, or both.  For abetting persons to secure unauthorised access to a bank’s computer system for a first-time offender, the offence under Section 3(1) read with Section 10 and Section 11A of the Computer Misuse Act carries a fine not exceeding $5,000, an imprisonment term not exceeding two years, or both.  For the offence of carrying on the business of providing payment service in Singapore without licence under Section 5 of the Payment Services Act 2019, a person convicted of the offence can be fined up to the maximum of $125,000, be sentenced to an imprisonment term of up to three years, or both.

The Police take a serious stance against anyone involved in facilitating money laundering, and perpetrators will be dealt with in accordance with the law. To avoid becoming involved in money laundering activities, members of the public should always reject requests to share the use of their banking facilities to receive and transfer funds, as well as guard against disclosing their SingPass login details which can be misused for many transactions.

If you receive or are asked to receive funds from unknown or dubious sources, please contact the Anti-Scam Helpline 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.

 


PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
29 April 2022 @ 10:00 AM
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