Money mule jailed for receiving and moving $345,100 of stolen cash

A housewife, who came here from Malaysia to collect $345,100 from four men last July, was jailed for a year on Tuesday. Thai national Thanyarat Jarutraveevit pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and transporting part of it out of jurisdiction.

She admitted to becoming a money mule so as to receive $500 for each trip from two men, known to her only as Mike and Jackson.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi said that Thanyarat's Malaysian boyfriend had introduced her to Mike and Jackson. She made three trips here to collect money that had been transferred unlawfully from the Credit Suisse bank account of Mr Alvaro Bermudez Ferrari, who is based in Zurich.

On July 31, the bank found out that the email purportedly from Mr Ferrari approving the wire transfer of a total of US$217,788 (S$269,380) to two bank accounts in Singapore was forged. Police here were notified and investigations revealed that the accounts belonged to two Singaporeans. They handed this money, minus their commissions, to Thanyarat who then took it to Malaysia through the Woodlands Checkpoint on July 26 and handed it to Mike and Jackson.

Five days later, she was arrested when she came here to collect another $76,500 from two other men.

Pleading for leniency, defence counsel S. Doraraj said that his client was a naive and simple housewife taken advantage of by Mike and Jackson. The lawyer said that she had committed the offences unwittingly without realising the consequences.