Woman jailed after allowing online lover, friend use her bank account to receive money from scam victims
SINGAPORE: A 47-year-old woman has been sentenced to jail for her involvement in money laundering offences, after allowing her online lover and another friend to use her bank account to receive funds from scam victims.
Noorhudah Binte Sa’ad pleaded guilty to 15 charges, with 35 other charges taken into consideration, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in a news release on Tuesday (Sep 29).
She was sentenced to 22 months and 3 weeks’ jail last Friday .
Investigations revealed that she had agreed to receive funds on behalf of her online lover named Lucky Mentus and a friend known to her as Lynn.
Noorhudah was working as a cleaner in a hotel in Singapore when she committed the offences, receiving at least S$187,560 that was established to be from business email compromise and Internet love scams between December 2015 and September 2016.
After receiving the funds, Noorhudah would withdraw the money and hand it to Lucky Mentus' and Lynn's contacts in Singapore or Malaysia.
"Lucky Mentus told Noorhudah that he needed a bank account in Singapore to receive loan repayments from his friends in Singapore, while Lynn explained that she required Noorhudah’s assistance to receive funds from her sister and her husband’s business partner," said the police.
She agreed to help despite suspecting that Lucky Mentus' friends and Lynn's husband could be scammers, said the police.
She also continued to allow Lucky Mentus and Lynn to use her bank accounts to receive funds even after the police opened an investigation against her in 2016, the police said.
CONTINUED RECEIVING FUNDS DESPITE INVESTIGATION
In February 2016, Noorhudah received S$5,000 that was derived from fraud in her UOB account, leading to an investigation by officers from the Bedok Police Division.
Despite this, she continued to allow the UOB account, along with her accounts at DBS and OCBC, to be used to receive funds on Lucky Mentus' and Lynn's behalf. She had also approached three colleagues with requests to use their bank accounts to receive funds on behalf of Lynn.
In October 2017, while she was under investigation by the Commercial Affairs Department, Noorhudah also attempted to acquire S$41,000 from a scam victim, said the police.
The victim was contacted by a person named Joanne, whom she had befriended on a social media platform.
Joanne told the victim she needed a bank account to receive a loan repayment. The victim gave Joanne her husband's bank account details, and was later told to withdraw the funds and hand the cash to Noorhudah in Singapore.
The victim's husband felt that the arrangement was suspicious and lodged a police report.
Anyone convicted of a money laundering offence may be jailed for up to 10 years and fined up to S$500,000.
"Money laundering offences are grave in nature as they facilitate the retention of benefits derived from serious crimes by the perpetrators of the predicate offences," said the police.
"There is a need to deter offenders from using Singapore’s financial system as a conduit for illicit funds as it affects Singapore’s reputation as an international financial centre."