Duo received over $900k in crime proceeds using foreign workers' bank accounts

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
December 8, 2022

A man and his brother-in-law conspired to launder large sums of cash, receiving crime proceeds totalling more than $900,000 in bank accounts belonging to foreign workers who had left Singapore.

Their crimes came to light after police officers found over $400,000 in cash and 71 bank cards in their vehicle at a roadblock.

The money came from offences including cheating, said the prosecution, without revealing details about the scams.

Singapore permanent resident Zhang Ming and his Chinese national brother-in-law Yin Junjun were each sentenced to 33 months’ jail on Thursday.

The men, both 39, pleaded guilty to three counts each of dealing with the benefits of criminal conduct.

At the time of the offences in 2021, Zhang was a manager at an agency for foreign workers, while Yin worked in a trading firm.

Early that year, a friend introduced Zhang to a man known only as Ah Xiang, who claimed to be in the business of online gaming and soccer betting.

Ah Xiang then asked Zhang whether he was willing to use his bank account to receive cash and then transfer the money to other accounts.

Zhang did not want to use his own account, as he feared it might be frozen if there were large sums flowing in and out of it.

Ah Xiang, who knew that Zhang worked at an agency for foreign workers, suggested using bank accounts owned by such individuals.

He also told Zhang that for every $10,000 he helped receive, he would be paid $200 as commission.

Zhang told Yin about the offer and the two agreed to use the bank accounts of workers who were leaving Singapore to receive the monies.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Edwin Soh said that Zhang and Yin started collecting bank cards and Internet banking login details of such workers.

They then shared these details with Ah Xiang via messaging platform Telegram.

Ah Xiang started transferring large amounts of cash into these bank accounts soon after.

Ah Xiang would notify the pair, who had control over these bank accounts, of money transferred. He also gave instructions for them to transfer these sums to cryptocurrency wallets or bank accounts in China.

At around 3am on June 20, 2021, the pair were stopped at a police roadblock in Jalan Toa Payoh.

DPP Soh told the court that the two were arrested as they could not provide a satisfactory explanation for why they had so much cash and so many bank cards in the vehicle.

The two men were represented by lawyers Anthony Lim and Ramesh Tiwary.

Mr Tiwary told the court that their clients were unaware that the monies were proceeds of cheating and had thought that the cash came from online gaming activities.

Each offender was offered bail of $25,000 on Thursday. They were also ordered to surrender themselves at the State Courts on Jan 30, 2023 to begin serving their sentences.

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