SINGAPORE - An unemployed Singaporean woman was jailed for 29 months on Wednesday (Aug 30) after she knowingly helped her Nigerian boyfriend receive money from scams.
She also earned a commission for assisting him in his criminal activities.
Hasanah Abdullah, now 44, pleaded guilty to two counts each of assisting another person to retain benefits of criminal conduct, removing the ill-gotten gains out of Singapore and dishonestly receiving stolen property.
Nineteen other charges, mainly for similar offences, were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Hasanah, who committed the offences between April 2014 and June 2015, moved to Malaysia in 2013 and fell in love with Richard Osza after meeting him there.
In December 2013, he asked her to provide him with bank accounts in Singapore to receive monies on his behalf - purportedly for his clothing business.
However, when she asked, he was unable to show her any proof of it.
Despite this, she agreed to help, and allowed him to use her bank accounts.
Between April 19 and Dec 30, 2014, Hasanah allowed Osza to make use of bank accounts belonging to both her and her daughter.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yonghui said: "As Hasanah continued to receive money for Richard, Hasanah suspected that Richard was, in fact, a scammer and the money that she was receiving on his behalf were the benefits of his criminal conduct.
"Hasanah's suspicion turned out to be correct as Richard subsequently introduced Hasanah to a number of his Nigerian friends who were all scammers."
Instead of cutting ties with him, Hasanah negotiated with Osza on the quantum of commission she could receive for her role in their criminal activities.
"It was finally agreed between Hasanah and Richard that she would receive a commission of between 1 and 5 per cent for helping Richard receive and transfer the benefits of his criminal conduct," said DPP Chong.
As part of the agreement, the Nigerians would inform Hasanah whenever cash was deposited into her bank accounts. She would then withdraw the money and hand the sum over to Osza in Malaysia after deducting a cut for her commission.
She earned between $50,000 and $60,000 in commission. The victims' monies have not been recovered, the court heard.
In December 2014, Singapore police asked Hasanah to assist them in their investigations as they had received several reports involving her bank accounts. Officers also warned her not to allow others to use the accounts.
She ignored their warning and used a friend's account to continue receiving and transferring the benefits of Osza's criminal conduct.
According to court documents, Hasanah received $416,370.63 and transferred $305,307.63 in all.
DPP Chong told District Judge Luke Tan on Wednesday that Hasanah was also uncooperative and provided misleading evidence to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).
Hasanah, who was unrepresented in court, was supposed to give a statement to the CAD on May 18, 2015. But she failed to turn up and remained uncontactable.
A check with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority revealed that she had left Singapore.
She was arrested only about a month later when she tried to re-enter the country.
For each count of assisting another person to retain benefits of criminal conduct, she could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined up to $500,000.