A victim of a $1.3 million gang robbery in Little India 31/2 years ago landed himself behind bars yesterday, for running an unlicensed remittance business that saw him transferring a staggering $502.5 million in total.
Indian national Jalaludeen Gulam Hussain, 36, was jailed for 10 months and given the maximum fine of $100,000 for setting up shop at a flat in Block 664 Buffalo Road from January 2010 to July last year when he had no licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
A district court heard that the $502.5 million he remitted was the highest for the offence. Jalaludeen also gained $552,750, one of the largest profits made by such an offender.
In September 2012, a gang of five robbed him and his two compatriots - Kamarulzaman Abuasanar, 31, and Anthony Savarimuthu, 39 - of $1.3 million at a Dunlop Street lodging house. The robbers are each serving between eight and 101/2 years' jail plus caning. Last month, Kamarulzaman was jailed for 10 weeks and fined $70,000 while Anthony was jailed for five months and fined $100,000 for running an unlicensed remittance business.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo told District Judge May Mesenas that Jalaludeen used a system known as Hawala, which is based on trust between the customer and the agent. Jalaludeen collected remittance funds in Singdollars from Indian nationals who came from the same town or village in India, then transmitted them to India.
Representatives there would disburse the equivalent amounts in rupees to intended recipients, based on pre-agreed exchange rates. Jalaludeen would also remit money from India to Singapore.
He would convert Singdollars by buying gold which would be transmitted to India through couriers. The gold would be sold at a profit in India and the Hawala agents based in India would disburse the proceeds in rupees. Jalaludeen's average monthly profit was $8,250.
DPP Khoo cited several aggravating factors, including the long period of offending and difficulty in detection. Jalaludeen's lawyer Sarbrinder Singh said his client, who is married with no children, had suffered as a victim, and had cooperated fully with the authorities.
The maximum penalty is a $100,000 fine and two years' jail.