Third man arrested for impersonation scam in which woman lost $5.4 million

SINGAPORE - A third Malaysian man has been arrested for his alleged involvement in a 2017 impersonation scam that cost a woman around $5.4 million.

In a statement on Thursday (Jan 3), the Singapore Police Force said the 29-year-old suspect was arrested in Kuala Lumpur one day ago, with the help of the Royal Malaysia Police.

The man, who was not identified, has been brought back to Singapore and is expected to be charged on Friday for dishonestly receiving stolen property.

In the November 2017 case, a 58-year-old woman was led to think she had to surrender all her money to the "authorities" to assist in criminal investigations, said the Singapore police.

She then delivered her money to different strangers at various locations in Singapore over a week, and the suspects left the island soon after.

The fraudsters allegedly impersonated officials from China.

The latest arrest comes months after two other Malaysians, Looi Yu Chong and Cha Kok Haw, were caught in January and May 2018 respectively.

The duo have since been charged over money laundering offences.

If convicted, the latest suspect faces an imprisonment term of up to five years and a fine.

Director of Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department David Chew thanked his Malaysian counterparts in the statement.

The police also advised members of the public to take precautions when receiving unsolicited calls asking them to to surrender money in order to avoid criminal investigations.

These include ignoring the calls and instructions, as "no government agency will demand payment through an undocumented medium like a telephone call or other social messaging platforms".

Agencies will also not demand that people surrender cash to unnamed persons, or ask for personal banking information, said the police.

It added that foreign residents should call their embassy or high commission to verify callers' claims as well, and urged the public not to make any transfers of funds or act impulsively.

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