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Singapore

Jail for man who let scammers funnel S$1.5 million through his bank accounts

Jail for man who let scammers funnel S$1.5 million through his bank accounts

File photo of thousands of Singapore dollars (Photo: iStock)

SINGAPORE: A man agreed to illegally open bank accounts for use by another person in exchange for money, and more than $1.5 million was eventually moved through these accounts. 

The offender also pocketed more than S$5,900 from a durian supplier he worked for, took drugs and falsely accused an investigation officer working on his case such that the case was reassigned.

Jorell Kay Wei Hoe, 31, was sentenced on Thursday (Sep 29) to one year and 10 months' jail. 

He pleaded guilty to seven charges including cheating, drug consumption and criminal breach of trust as an employee. Another eight charges were considered in sentencing.

The court heard that an acquaintance of Kay's approached him in 2019 with a proposal. He offered Kay S$800 per month for every corporate bank account and S$500 per month for every personal bank account that Kay delivered to him.

Kay did not know and did not check what the acquaintance would use the bank accounts for, but agreed.

Kay registered a business and opened a UOB corporate account for the business in October 2019. He also opened a CIMB personal account under his own name that same month, and surrendered control of both accounts to his acquaintance.

The accounts were used to receive and make fund transfers. A total of S$1,472,342 was deposited into the UOB account in December 2019, with almost all the money withdrawn that same month. The CIMB account was similarly used for fund transfers, including S$80,000 from a love scam.

The victim of the scam, a Singaporean woman, made a complaint to the police on Dec 30, 2019, saying that she had met someone online who asked her to lend him money for his business.

The scammer promised to return her the money on top of commission from his businesses, and the victim transferred a total of S$160,000 to various bank accounts at his instruction.

Of this amount, S$80,000 went to Kay's CIMB account.

Another scam victim made a complaint to the police on Aug 31, 2020, saying that he was scammed by a person he had met online. The person asked him to transfer S$400,000 for a cryptocurrency investment. He did so, but realised later that it was a scam.

Of this amount, S$31,000 was transferred to Kay's UOB account.

HE MADE A POLICE REPORT AGAINST HIS OWN IO

On Sep 3, 2020, an investigation officer attached to an anti-scam team under the Singapore Police Force contacted Kay over the cryptocurrency scam.

Four days later and before the pair had met, Kay called the police officer. The officer asked Kay for his identity, but Kay said he did not need to know who he was. He said the officer just needed to know that a police report was made against him and that it would be "the downfall of his career".

Later that same day, Kay made a police report over the phone. He claimed that someone had told him that the investigation officer had taken bribes to get passes for a government programme - the Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme - approved.

He claimed that the officer earned a cut from this, and alleged that his secondary school friend had told him about it.

Because of Kay's false report, the police investigated the investigation officer looking into Kay's case. Kay's case was reassigned to a different investigation officer.

Kay later admitted in police interviews that "there is no such thing that happened which I have said".

Kay was also sentenced for pocketing S$5,971 in cash belonging to a durian supplier he was working for in September 2020.

He was arrested at a staircase in Holland Drive on May 11, 2021 on suspicion of drug-related offences. A packet of methamphetamine was found on him and his urine samples contained the drug.

He admitted that he had been smoking meth every day for two to three months before his arrest.

The prosecutor asked for at least two years' jail, noting that Kay had committed "a whole slew of offences" including drug and cheating offences. Some of them were committed after Kay was already being investigated, he said.

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Source: CNA/ll(ac)
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