Former bank officer receives jail, fine for cheating offences and assisting loan shark

In 2011 and 2012, Manisah Mohamed Ariff, then a DBS bank officer, fabricated lucrative investment schemes to cheat a distant relative of $110,000. Now unemployed and heavily pregnant with her first child, the 33-year-old was jailed for 15 months and fined $30,000 on Thursday for the cheating offences and for assisting a loan shark.

A district court heard that in mid-2011, she convinced Ms Zaiton Junid to "invest" $50,000 in a foreign exchange investment scheme allegedly operated by a forex brokerage firm in Cyprus.

Investors were to receive $625 a month over 10 years, amounting to a total payment of $75,000, but payments to Ms Zaiton stopped after the fifth month. However, Manisah was able to talk her relative into handing over another $60,000 to participate in a DBS Employees Share Option programme in July 2012. This, too, was fictitious.

In September 2012, Ms Zaiton suspected she had been cheated and made a police report. Police investigations then revealed that in June 2012, Manisah had assisted a loan shark by handing over an ATM card and allowing the unlicensed moneylender to use her bank account for his illegal business.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kung Yong Jin said that there was much planning and premeditation on the part of Manisah, who had also betrayed the trust of a relative.

In reply, defence counsel Louis Joseph told the court that his client, who has a bachelor of science degree in banking and finance from the Singapore Institute of Management, had committed the offences because of financial pressures.

Manisah is due to have her first child next month.

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