Woman jailed for acquiring funds she had reason to believe was from criminal conduct

Lye Kim Fah was jailed for 12 months on Monday (Dec 5) after admitting to acquiring $117,122 into her bank account when she had reasonable grounds to believe that the property in whole directly represented another person's benefits from criminal cond
Lye Kim Fah was jailed for 12 months on Monday (Dec 5) after admitting to acquiring $117,122 into her bank account when she had reasonable grounds to believe that the property in whole directly represented another person's benefits from criminal conduct.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A few days after she came to know a man online, she agreed to let him use her bank account to receive money from his client, a court heard.

Initially, Lye Kim Fah, 55, felt "shock'' and "unease" when the person she met named "Allen Bruce'' through a website in December 2012 asked her to receive the money on his behalf, as she had known him only for a few days.

Despite this, she eventually agreed and gave him her account details.

Lye was jailed for 12 months on Monday after admitting to acquiring $117,122 into her bank account when she had reasonable grounds to believe that the property in whole directly represented another person's benefits from criminal conduct.

Two other charges - removing property from jurisdiction and transferring money into her bank account - were considered in her sentencing.

"Allen'' is allegedly a 50-year-old widower staying in London and was a businessman dealing with jewellery.

Sometime on Dec 5 that year, "Allen'' asked her to receive money from his client in her bank account on his behalf. He claimed that he would collect it from her when he visited her in Singapore.

Even though "Allen'' told her that he would be sending £40,000, she eventually received US$96,500 (S$117,122) in her POSB account. She told him that she received $110,000. She subsequently withdrew $17,000 cash, and deposited $15,000 of it into her other DBS account. She spent the remaining $2,000 on shopping.

Acting on his instructions, she remitted $100,000 from her POSB account to one Hong Leong Bank account in Malaysia on Dec 17 that year.

The court heard that on Dec 11 that year, VP Bank (Singapore) received an e-mail purportedly sent by businessman Alexandre Robert Dudley Marie De Lesseps, based in Hong Kong, to transfer US$96,500 into Lye's POSB account.

Investigations showed that Mr De Lesseps had never sent the e-mail. He lodged a police report of the unauthorised transfer on Jan 3, 2013.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Chin said that Lye received the S$117,122 transfer into her POSB account when she had reasonable grounds to believe that the sum was another person's benefits from criminal conduct.

He said any reasonable person in her position would not have trusted "Allen'' and would have found that the arrangement made no sense. She was unsure of his identity and had felt uneasy helping him receive the money. She also had suspicions after she received a different sum of money as previously told to her.

Acting on "Allen's'' instructions, she remitted $100,000 from her POSB account to a Hong Leong Bank account in Malaysia on Dec 17, 2012.

Lye could have been fined up to $500,00 and/or jailed for up to five years under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.