SINGAPORE - A money mule for an international syndicate, which is behind scams involving impersonating the police, travelled to Singapore 14 times last year to collect and transfer criminal proceeds totalling almost $760,000.
Malaysian Tan Kim Hui, 24, pleaded guilty in court on Monday (Oct 15) to five counts of abetment by conspiracy to help his accomplices retain the benefits of criminal conduct involving more than $670,000.
Nine other similar charges involving the remaining amount will be considered during sentencing. Tan committed his offences between April and July last year.
He was introduced to the syndicate early last year and took instructions from a fellow Malaysian known only as Ole.
As part of the ruse, a fraudster would contact a victim and, pretending to be a police officer, claim the person was under investigation for various offences.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Foo Shi Hao said: "The scammer will then deceive the victim into handing over control of the victim's bank account. Thereafter, money will be withdrawn from the victim's bank account and delivered to 'money mules', who collect the money and deliver it to the scammers.
"Sometimes, these victims are tricked by the scammers into helping the scammer transfer monies in the belief that they were assisting police investigations. Such victims are known as 'victim-mules'."
DPP Foo added that the Malaysian was tasked to travel to Singapore to collect and transfer proceeds of the syndicate's cheating activities.
According to Tan, the syndicate paid him between RM200 (about S$66) and RM1,500 for each trip here.
The court heard that one of the victims was duped into parting with almost $50,000 in cash. A victim-mule got hold of the money before Tan arrived in Singapore on May 9 last year to collect it. Tan passed the money to Ole in Malaysia.
He committed similar offences involving almost $300,000 on July 10 and 11 last year.
On July 12 last year, he travelled to Singapore with an alleged accomplice known as Lay Guo Zheng to collect almost $265,000 in criminal proceeds.
A week later, the pair met a third man, Gerald Yap, in Johor Baru and the trio travelled to Singapore together.
DPP Foo said Lay collected $50,000 from an unknown person in Chinatown while the other two acted as lookouts.
The trio then went to Yishun where Lay collected an ATM card from a victim-mule and withdrew $8,900. The three men returned to Malaysia and handed the cash to Ole.
Tan, who is now in remand, will be back in court on Nov 12. Yap has been dealt with, while the case involving Lay is still pending.