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The Straits Times
Jul 17, 2023
Hoping to make a quick buck, a man helped a scam syndicate withdraw from bank accounts more than $522,000 in cash that was stolen from victims and earned $700 from it.
Lim Shao Lun, 31, was sentenced on Monday to 18 months and three weeks’ jail after he pleaded guilty to four charges, including one charge of assisting others to retain benefits from criminal conduct.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kathy Chu said scammers impersonating police officers or friends called seven victims and cheated them into transferring money to bank accounts controlled by the syndicate.
Lim was given access to eight of these bank accounts, with the ATM cards and PINs that were handed to him by syndicate runners.
When instructed, across around six weeks on multiple occasions, the accused withdrew cash ranging from $100 to $100,000, corresponding to the amount of money transferred into these bank accounts by the victims.
He then passed the cash to the runners, who would hand the money to those behind the syndicate.
Lim was hired in November 2022 after he joined a Telegram group chat called “Singapore red dot”.
An unknown user from the chat messaged him and asked if he wanted to earn money by helping to withdraw cash from bank accounts.
He told Lim the money was from an online gambling business overseas.
Despite knowing that unlicensed online gambling was illegal in Singapore, Lim accepted the deal to be paid $100 for every $100,000 in cash withdrawn.
In December 2022, he was instructed to withdraw $220,000 from a POSB account and was given the PIN for the bank card.
After withdrawing the money, he was told to meet an unknown person in Punggol to hand over the cash, and he was given money in exchange for his help.
DPP Chu said that in all, Lim had control over three POSB accounts and made 16 cash withdrawals totalling $522,340, which he then handed to various unknown individuals.
She noted that he had reasonable grounds to believe that these individuals had benefited from criminal conduct.
Seeking between 24 and 29 months’ jail for Lim, DPP Chu said most of the scams perpetuated in these cases were those involving impersonation of police officers, which would affect the public’s trust in law enforcement agencies.
She added that most of the victims were elderly people, who lost significant sums averaging $100,000.
Those found guilty of assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct may be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $500,000, or both.