Police probing online scam nab suspected money mule

SINGAPORE - A 31-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of being a money mule who remitted money fron an online scam into overseas bank accounts.

Eight victims transferred a total of $2,700 into the accounts of online sellers, who had advertised smartphones and tablet computers at below-market prices. However, none of the buyers received the goods they had paid for and some were even lured to make further payments after being told there were additional delivery costs.

Police said that following the spate of cases last September, officers from Jurong Police Division conducted investigations and nabbed the suspect in the vicinity of Jurong West. The suspect is believed to have remitted the money abroad for a percentage of commission from the funds he transferred.

Police said personal bank accounts should only be used for personal banking needs. They said anyone who helps another to accept or transfer funds - especially if the source of the funds is unclear - may be aiding and abetting a criminal in receiving the proceeds of crime and may be liable for criminal prosecution.

If found guilty of dishonestly receiving stolen property, the suspect can be jailed for up to five years, fined or both. For the offence of transferring benefits of criminal conduct, he could face a fine of up to $500,000, up to seven years' jail, or both.

yanliang@sph.com.sg