71-year-old man charged after Internet love scam victims transfer money to his bank accounts

22 men charged with obstructing justice by alerting WhatsApp groups about raids

SINGAPORE: A 71-year-old man was charged on Friday (Aug 5) after Internet love scam victims allegedly transferred money to his bank accounts.

The accused, Lai Chee Keong, was charged with money laundering.

More than S$220,000 was involved, some of which was found in his bank accounts, said the police in a news release on Friday. 

On Sep 18, 2020, the police received a report from an Internet love victim who said she was cheated into transferring S$4,950 to a bank account after meeting someone online. 

Investigations revealed that the victim had befriended an unknown person on social media. 

Within a month of getting to know that person, the victim was promised a parcel delivery containing money and jewellery. 

The victim later received messages from what appeared to be a delivery company to tell her that the parcel had arrived at customs.

However, the victim had to pay S$4,950 so that her parcel would not be investigated for money laundering. 

“The victim did as instructed and transferred S$4,950 to a nominated bank account, which turned out to be a bank account belonging to the 71-year-old man,” police said. 

Subsequent investigations showed that more than S$220,000 from Internet love scams was involved, and allegedly transferred to seven bank accounts. 

Five belonged to Lai, and one each to his wife and his friend. 

If found guilty of acquiring, possessing, using, concealing or transferring benefits from criminal conduct, Lai may be jailed up to 10 years, fined up to S$500,000 or both. 

Those found guilty of possessing or using property suspected to be benefits of criminal conduct and failing to account satisfactorily how the person came by the property, face up to three years in jail, a fine of up to S$150,000 or both. 

The offence of carrying on a business of providing payment service without licence is punishable with imprisonment for up to three years, a fine of up to S$125,000 or both.

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