Man jailed over offence linked to OCBC phishing scams and other crimes

Mark Teo Sin Yan was sentenced to three months and 22 weeks’ jail. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE – A man relinquished control of his company’s bank account to an unknown person in late 2021. The account was then used to receive, and transfer out, the proceeds of online scams totalling $53,801.

Of this amount, $18,801 came from a victim of the OCBC Bank phishing scams. Court documents did not state if the remaining amount came from the same ruse.

On Tuesday, Mark Teo Sin Yan, 32, pleaded guilty to six charges, including criminal intimidation, traffic offences and allowing others to use his company’s bank account to handle the proceeds of crime.

He was then sentenced to three months and 22 weeks’ jail. He was also fined $500 and disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for a period of a year.

Between Dec 8, 2021, and Jan 19, 2022, the police received 768 reports from OCBC account holders who had fallen prey to phishing scams perpetrated by unknown scammers.

The victims reported that their bank accounts had been compromised and funds transferred out without authorisation.

In earlier proceedings, the court heard that they suffered losses of about $12.8 million in total. OCBC said in January 2022 that it had made full goodwill payouts to all victims of the scams.

Teo was the sole proprietor of a company called Royal Beaute. He relinquished control of its bank account to an unknown person some time between November and December 2021.

On Dec 26, 2021, a 49-year-old man lodged a police report stating that he had received a text message sent by “OCBCARD” instructing him to click on a link to purportedly conduct a security check on his OCBC bank account.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sunil Nair said: “Not knowing that (it was) a malicious phishing SMS, the complainant clicked on the URL link and was directed to a website that mimicked OCBC Bank’s website.

“The complainant was prompted to key in his online Internet banking credentials and one-time PINs. Unknown to the complainant, his information was used to access his OCBC bank accounts without his authority to perform two transfers of a total of $98,860 to another OCBC bank account on the same day.”

Investigations revealed that the man’s monies were then transferred to four other bank accounts, one of which belonged to Royal Beaute, which received $18,801.

This sum was then transferred to other accounts and could not be recovered.

The prosecutor said that between Dec 6 and 27, 2021, there were 288 transactions of more than $4.2 million in Royal Beaute’s account.

Of the sums received and transferred out, $53,801 was confirmed to be the proceeds of online scams. Court documents did not disclose further information about the remaining amount.

In an unrelated incident, Teo lodged an online police report on Jan 8, 2021, claiming that several of his accounts on platforms including online marketplace Carousell had been compromised.

DPP Nair said: “The accused made these false statements because he wished to disclaim responsibility for the loans given by his colleagues and his dishonest advertisement of an Apple watch on Carousell.”

Teo committed another offence about four months later when he threatened a 62-year-old taxi driver with a knife after failing to pay his fare.

The cabby tried to get away while Teo’s arm was still pressing down on his shoulder. As a result, the knife cut the victim on his left shoulder near his collar bone.

Teo then got out of the taxi, but later surrendered himself to the police.

The cabby sought treatment at a clinic and received stitches for his wound. He was also given four days of medical leave.

Separately, Teo cheated a 62-year-old man of $500 on Nov 17, 2021, after claiming that he had computer speakers for sale.

He was also caught driving a car without a valid licence along Yio Chu Kang Road the next day.

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