SINGAPORE: Six people were arrested for their suspected involvement in money laundering activities, said the Singapore Police Force on Thursday (Sep 15).
The four men and two women, aged between 20 and 51, were nabbed during an islandwide anti-scam enforcement operation conducted on Sep 13 and Sep 14.
The operation was carried out by officers from the Police Intelligence Department and Commercial Affairs Department.
Another two women, aged 33 and 37, are being investigated for their suspected involvement in money laundering activities.
The police said that they received information in June this year regarding criminal proceeds arising from investment scams amounting to more than S$4.5 million. The funds were credited into several bank accounts in Singapore.
Preliminary investigations indicated that a 37-year-old man had allegedly placed online advertisements and acquired bank accounts with ATM cards and pre-registered prepaid SIM cards from unknown individuals.
These individuals were paid at least S$800 for each bank account and S$50 for each pre-registered prepaid SIM card.
The man was later established to be the reseller of the fraudulently obtained bank accounts with ATM cards and pre-registered prepaid SIM cards, said the police, adding that these were used to facilitate illegal activities.
He is also believed to have withdrawn the criminal proceeds from the bank accounts.
Preliminary investigations by the police also revealed that two men, aged 38 and 39, had allegedly withdrawn money from the bank accounts and later converted the criminal proceeds into cryptocurrencies since January 2022.
The two women, aged 20 and 51, are believed to have facilitated the money laundering activities by withdrawing money from the bank accounts and later handing the criminal proceeds to the 37-year-old man.
Another bank account holder, a 32-year-old man, had allegedly sold and relinquished his bank account and ATM card to the 37-year-old man in July this year.
Several case exhibits such as more than S$19,000 in cash, 16 mobile phones, more than 30 pre-registered prepaid SIM cards and 150 ATM cards were found and seized from the possession of several of the suspects, said the police.
The three men will be charged in court on Thursday. The 37-year-old man will be charged with the offence of assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct.
The two men, aged 38 and 39, will be charged with the offence of possessing benefits from criminal conduct.
Those found guilty face a fine of up to S$500,000 and/or a jail term not exceeding 10 years.
Investigations against the remaining suspects are ongoing.
The police said that they will not hesitate to take action against anyone involved in arrangements to allow their bank accounts to be used for illegal purposes such as the laundering of criminal proceeds.
“To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to open and/or sell bank accounts, or receive money in their bank accounts, as they will be held accountable if these are linked to criminal activities,” they added.