Singapore woman jailed for helping Nigerian con man

Suriani Hassim collaborated with a Nigerian man to cheat victims of more than $200,000 and has been jailed for 4-1/2 years for various offences.
Suriani Hassim collaborated with a Nigerian man to cheat victims of more than $200,000 and has been jailed for 4-1/2 years for various offences.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

A Singaporean woman who collaborated with a Nigerian man to cheat victims of more than $200,000 has been jailed for 4-1/2 years for various offences.

Suriani Hassim, 30, unemployed, who faced 20 charges, pleaded guilty on Monday to nine charges. Among them, she had let money be put into her bank accounts though she had reasonable grounds to believe it was gained from cheating, and conveyed those gains to the Nigerian, known to her as Bah.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Vadivalagan Shanmuga said six victims lodged separate police reports in 2014 that they had been cheated by Bah, who had represented himself to them on Facebook and dating websites under various names.

Bah conned them into putting various sums of money in Singapore and Malaysia bank accounts or sending them to unknown third parties overseas.

Investigations showed that Suriani had met Bah in Kuala Lumpur and lived with him on and off. They had a daughter born in 2013.

Suriani found out that Bah was a con man who cheated women of their money over the phone and Internet platforms. She went along with his cheating scams as she depended on him for money.

She allowed her three bank accounts in Singapore to be used to receive money from unsuspecting victims. On several occasions, she withdrew the money and gave it to Bah in KL, or kept it for her own use.

DPP Vadivalagan said Suriani also had a Singapore mobile phone for Bah to call his victims.

Investigations were protracted as she was giving the police the runaround. "Apart from giving false information, she also purposefully kept missing her interview appointments with the police," said the DPP.

Suriani was finally arrested at Changi Airport on Feb 27, 2014, while trying to leave for Malaysia.

Of the $220,100 involved, only $5,003 has been recovered from her Standard Chartered Bank account.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore woman jailed for helping Nigerian con man'. Print Edition | Subscribe