The Police have arrested a 35-year-old man for his suspected involvement in a COVID-19-related scam for cheating and money laundering offences.
On 21 May 2020, the Police were alerted to a case of a distribution company which is based overseas being defrauded of more than US$646,000 (approximately S$915,000) for the purchase of N95 masks and personal protection gowns from a supposed local supplier. After the company transferred the monies to a local bank, the items were not delivered and the supplier became uncontactable.
Through investigations, officers from the Commercial Affairs Department established the identity of the supposed supplier who had received the monies and arrested him on 26 May 2020. Two watches and more than S$81,000 in cash were seized. Preliminary investigations revealed that the man had acquired the advance cash payments from the overseas distribution company and dissipated them to several local and overseas bank accounts.
Through quick intervention and close collaboration with the three local banks namely DBS, OCBC and UOB, the Police’s Anti-Scam Centre managed to recover more than S$370,000 of the amount scammed. Efforts are underway to trace and recover the remaining monies. This case highlights the strong Police-Community partnership in fighting scams and the Police would like to commend the banks for their invaluable assistance in the recovery of the monies.
The man will be charged in court on 28 May 2020 with cheating, punishable under Section 420 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224. The offence carries an imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine. He will also be facing money-laundering charges, punishable under Section 47(6) of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act. The offence carries a fine not exceeding S$500,000 or to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or to both.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam hotline at 1800 722 6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
The Police take a serious view of all those who take advantage of the current COVID-19 situation to perpetrate crimes and will spare no efforts in taking all those who flout the laws to task.
Source: Singapore Police Force