SINGAPORE - A man appeared in a district court on Thursday (Sept 23) to face charges after 13 scam victims were allegedly duped into transferring cash totalling more than $430,000 into his bank account.
Tan Zhixian, 39, is accused of one count each of dealing with the benefits of criminal conduct and providing unlicensed cross-border money transfer services.
Police said in a statement on Wednesday evening that between Aug 28 and Nov 24 last year, officers received reports from the 13 scam victims, who had allegedly transferred the monies into the Singaporean's bank account.
According to the police, Tan later claimed that a man known only as Aloysius had instructed him to transfer about $450,000, which included monies obtained from the scam, into another bank account.
The cash was then transferred to a third bank account overseas. Police did not disclose details about the scam.
On Sept 11 last year, officers from Jurong Police Division conducted a routine check on two other men in Choa Chu Kang and found that the pair had a stack of Singapore currency notes in their possession.
The men then claimed that they were acting on Tan's instructions to collect the cash totalling nearly $15,000 from people who had purportedly engaged his services to transfer the monies overseas.
The police added: "Preliminary investigations revealed that from Aug 4 to Sept 11, 2020, (Tan) had allegedly carried on a business of providing cross-border money transfer services, where he allegedly transferred a sum of about $359,500 that was received in his DBS bank account to persons based in the People's Republic of China.
"The transfer services were believed to have been performed without a valid licence."
Police have advised members of the public not to withdraw or transfer any suspicious funds received in their bank accounts.
If they discover such funds in their accounts, they should instead alert their banks and the police.
"Should they withdraw or transfer the funds, they may be liable for assisting others to launder monies from criminal activities.
"Their bank accounts will be frozen, and they will be subjected to criminal investigation and possible prosecution in court," said the police.
The two men, who were not named, and the 13 scam victims are now helping the authorities with their investigations.
Tan's bail was set at $15,000 on Thursday and his case has been adjourned to Oct 21.
If convicted of dealing with the benefits of criminal activities, he can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined up to $500,000.
An offender convicted of providing unlicensed cross-border money transfer services can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $125,000.