Man arrested for money laundering offenses related to COVID-19

A 39-year-old Singaporean man has been apprehended for his suspected involvement in money laundering related to a business email impersonation scam during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

According to a news release on Saturday (Apr 4), the Police were notified in mid-March to a case of an overseas pharmaceutical company being swindled of $10.2 million, for the purchase of surgical masks and hand sanitizers.

After transferring the funds, the company was unable to receive funds. When the merchant was contacted, he was untraceable. After the investigations, officers from the Commercial Affairs Department spotted the scammer and detained him on Mar 25 when he returned to Singapore.

Initial investigations disclosed that he had received the cash, which was criminal proceeds and transferred the funds out of Singapore. Through quick action and close alliance with seven banks, the police claimed their Anti-Scam Centre was able to recover more than $6.4 million of the total amount laundered. The banks involved were United Overseas Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Standard Charted, Maybank, DBS, CIMB as well as HSBC.

The police officials stated, “This is the biggest single recovery since the formation of the Centre. Efforts are underway to trace and recover the remaining monies.” The agency applauded the banks for their “invaluable assistance” in the recovery of the funds. 

The accused is currently being investigated for multiple infringements under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking And Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation Of Benefits) Act, which carries a fine of not more than $500,000 or a jail term for not more than 10 years, or both.

The police added that they take serious actions against all those who take advantage of the current COVID-19 situation to execute crimes and will spare no effort in taking all those who defy the laws to the task.