Man in SG jailed, fined for receiving money stolen by scammers and transferring it to Malaysian accounts

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SINGAPORE: A Malaysian man received into his bank account money stolen from scam victims and transferred it to another bank account in Malaysia.

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Ong Wei Chyuan, 29, on Monday (Jan 10) pleaded guilty to an offence of carrying on a business of providing payment services without a licence and was jailed seven weeks and fined S$645 (RM1,997).

Ong has worked in Singapore since 2017 in a printing firm, earning S$1,600 (RM4,954) a month, according to court documents.

On May 3 last year, he was contacted on Facebook and WhatsApp by an unknown person who identified himself as a Malaysian known as Ah Kang.

He asked Ong for help to remit money to Malaysia, to which Ong agreed.

Ong was asked to provide the details of his POSB account and his CIMB Singapore account to Ah Kang, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Bryont Chin.

Ong helped Ah Kang with the calculations for each payment and earned a commission each time he helped with the transactions.

He received six fund transfers amounting to S$21,500 (RM66,581) in his bank accounts and made six transfers totalling RM65,619 (S$21,154) to a bank account in Malaysia, which earned him S$645 (RM1,997) in commission.

Ah Kang told Ong that the money transferred to his Singapore accounts were from clients of his girlfriend’s export business in Singapore.

On May 15, the police froze and seized Ong’s Singapore bank accounts, prompting him to ask Ah Kang again about who had been transferring money into his account.

This time, Ah Kang said that one was his girlfriend’s agent and another was his wholesaler.

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Ong has since spent all the money he earned, said DPP Chin, adding that Ong did not have a licence to carry on a business of providing payment services.

The police later received reports from three scam victims, aged between 22 and 30 years old, who had lost between S$2,000 (RM6,193) and S$5,000 (RM15,483) on at least one occasion each.

None of the stolen money was recovered, said DPP Chin, who urged the judge for a sentence of eight to 10 weeks’ jail and a S$645 (RM1,997) fine as deterrence.

DPP Chin said the amount involved was significant and posed difficulties for law enforcement as it was transferred overseas.

In a statement regarding Ong’s case, the police cautioned the public that scammers are recruiting people to transfer stolen money on their behalf.

Scammers may advertise attractive jobs with good pay for relatively easy tasks such as facilitating bank transfers for them, said the police.

“Legitimate companies will not require you to utilise your personal bank account to receive money on their behalf,” they said.

“You should reject requests to use your personal bank accounts to receive and transfer money for others.”

Those who receive and transfer money linked to crimes may be investigated and charged for committing a criminal offence, said the police.

Those found guilty of carrying on a business of providing payment services without a licence can face a maximum sentence of three years’ jail and fined S$125,000 (RM387,163). – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network