SINGAPORE: Six men and a woman will be charged in court on Thursday (Sep 22) for their suspected involvement in laundering money for a transnational scam syndicate.
The suspects, aged 21 to 25, were allegedly recruited by an India-based criminal syndicate to transfer money derived from various overseas tech support scams, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said on Wednesday.
A complaint was made by a scam victim in Canada on Sep 16 last year. He claimed to have lost more than S$12,500 after falling prey to a tech support scam.
"The scammer allegedly impersonated a member of staff from a company providing firewall and virus removal services and offered the victim a refund on his pre-paid subscription," SPF said.
On the pretext of removing the software from his computer, the scammer was allowed to access the victim's computer remotely.
In the process, the victim's Internet banking log-in details were revealed and used to transfer money from his Canadian bank account to an account in Singapore.
Police investigations led to the arrest of the seven suspects. They allegedly followed the instructions of the syndicate and began receiving money in August 2020 from unknown overseas sources into their bank accounts, with the total amounting to more than S$300,000 by September 2020.
The suspects then withdrew the money and handed it over to other unknown individuals in Singapore. They received more than S$30,000 in commissions, said the police.
If found guilty of assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct, they face up to 10 years' jail, a fine of up to S$500,000, or both.
The suspects will also be charged for carrying on a business of an unlicensed payment service. The offence carries a fine of up to S$125,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both.
Members of the public should ignore unsolicited calls asking to reveal their personal information such as bank account details, said the police.
"No local government agency will demand payment through an undocumented medium like a telephone call or other social messaging platforms, demand that you hand over cash to unnamed persons, or ask you for personal banking information such as your internet banking passwords," SPF added.
The police also warned members of the public against allowing their bank accounts to be used to assist in laundering money from criminal activities.