S'porean made $60k helping Nigerian boyfriend in scams

She negotiated for commission after finding out he was a conman

She fell in love with a Nigerian man and allowed him to use her bank accounts to receive money for his purported clothing business.

But Singaporean Hasanah Abdullah, now 44, did not sever ties with Richard Osza when she found out he was a scam artist. Instead, she asked him for a commission and managed to earn up to $60,000 for helping him with his criminal conduct.

The jobless woman was jailed for 29 months yesterday after pleading guilty to two counts each of assisting another person to retain benefits of criminal conduct, removing the ill-gotten gains out of Singapore and dishonestly receiving stolen property. Nineteen other charges, mainly for similar offences, were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Hasanah, who committed the offences between April 2014 and June 2015, moved to Malaysia in 2013 and met Osza there.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yonghui said: "As Hasanah continued to receive money for Richard, Hasanah suspected that Richard was, in fact, a scammer and the money that she was receiving on his behalf were the benefits of his criminal conduct. Hasanah's suspicion turned out to be correct as Richard subsequently introduced Hasanah to a number of his Nigerian friends who were all scammers."

She negotiated with Osza on the quantum of commission she could get for her role in their criminal activities. "It was finally agreed between Hasanah and Richard that she would receive a commission of between 1 and 5 per cent for helping Richard receive and transfer the benefits of his criminal conduct," said DPP Chong.

As part of the agreement, the Nigerians would inform Hasanah whenever cash was deposited into her bank accounts. She would then withdraw the money and hand the sum over to Osza in Malaysia after deducting a cut for her commission.

The victims' monies have not been recovered, the court heard.

In December 2014, the Singapore police asked Hasanah to assist them in their investigations as they had received several reports involving her bank accounts. Officers also warned her not to allow others to use the accounts. She ignored their warning and used a friend's account to continue receiving and transferring the benefits of Osza's criminal conduct.

According to court documents, Hasanah received $416,370.63 and transferred $305,307.63 in all.

Hasanah, who was unrepresented in court yesterday, was supposed to give a statement to the Commercial Affairs Department on May 18, 2015. But she failed to turn up. A check with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority revealed that she had left Singapore. She was arrested about a month later when she tried to re-enter the country.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2017, with the headline 'S'porean made $60k helping Nigerian boyfriend in scams'. Print Edition | Subscribe