Woman money mule jailed for offences

SINGAPORE - An administrative officer was jailed for eight months on Monday for dishonestly receiving stolen funds and transferring them.

Aslinda Othman, 43, who faced seven charges, had admitted to receiving $94,254 in her Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation account, having reason to believe the amount to be stolen property, on Sept 11 last year.

Two days later, she transferred $50,000, which represented her benefits from criminal conduct, to Keoagile Letshabo's CIMB bank Berhad account.

A district court heard that she came to know an online character named Walter Samuel through Tagged, an online social website. She had never met him before.

On Feb 1 last year, she opened the HSBC account and began helping Samuel receive and transfer funds on at least two occasions. She also received and transferred funds for Samuel using her United Overseas Bank account.

When $10,000 was credited into her UOB account in May last year, she received a recall notice from the bank due to "payment error". She later informed the bank that she was not agreeable to the recall of funds.

Despite not checking with Samuel on the transfer of $10,000 nor if he had sent it, Aslinda continued to help him to receive and transfer funds.

The court heard that she received $1,000 from Samuel for her help in relation to a transaction which took place in July the same year.

On Sept 11 last year, she received $94,254 through her HSBC account, and had reason to believe that it was stolen property.

Two days later, she telegraphic transferred $50,000 of that sum to one Keoagile Letshabo's CIMB account.

District Judge Low Wee Ping agreed with defence counsel Ferlin Jayatissa that Aslinda's culpability was on a lower level than one who knew that the property was stolen and went on to manage it.

"I understand that such offences have been somewhat prevalent, and the authorities have been trying all their best to deter Singaporeans from participating in these sophisticated offences,'' he said.

Five other charges were taken into consideration during her sentencing. The total amount of loss was about $150,000.

elena@sph.com.sg