Police probe 100 people for 277 scams involving over $770,000

The police have observed a pattern of criminal syndicates recruiting money mules to use their personal bank accounts to receive and transfer the gains from victims of scams.
The police have observed a pattern of criminal syndicates recruiting money mules to use their personal bank accounts to receive and transfer the gains from victims of scams.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The police are probing 100 people for their suspected involvement in 277 scams involving more than $770,000.

The suspects, 57 men and 43 women aged between 15 and 64, are being investigated for the offence of cheating.

They were discovered after a three-day islandwide operation from Tuesday to Thursday.

If found guilty of cheating, they can be jailed for up to 10 years.

If convicted of money laundering, they can be jailed for up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $500,000.

The police said on Friday (March 23) that they have observed a pattern of criminal syndicates recruiting money mules to use their personal bank accounts to receive and transfer the gains from victims of scams.

These syndicates usually befriend victims online, through dating websites or social media platforms, and pretend to offer them a "fast-cash" or "work-from-home" job offer.

Money mules are often asked to open new bank accounts in Singapore, before passing ATM cards, PINs and bank accounts to others.

In criminal cases, the accounts end up being controlled by syndicates that are often based overseas.

The police warned the public that bank account holders are accountable for any transaction made in their accounts.

Those whose bank accounts are found to have been used to receive criminal proceeds will be liable for money laundering offences, even if they had acted unwittingly.