Woman jailed 12 months for receiving suspicious money in bank account

A Singaporean woman was sentenced to 12 months jail in court today (5 Dec) for receiving money on her bank account despite having good reasons to believe that the money had been provided by criminal deed.

Two other charges, removing property from jurisdiction and moving money into her other bank account, were also taken into consideration in her sentencing.

Lye Kim Fah (55), was asked in December 2012 by a person she met through a website, ‘Allen Bruce’ to receive the money on his behalf.

She initially was in doubt to accept the transfer because she had only known the man for a few days, but eventually, she agreed and gave him her account details.

The Straits Times reported the court heard that on 5 Dec 2012, Lye was asked by the man she knew as Allen, to help receive money in her bank account from his client. He said that he would collect it from her when he visited her in Singapore.

Allen told her that the sum transferred was £40,000 (S$72,400 at present), but she received US$96,500 (S$117,122 at that time) in her POSB account. She told him that she received $110,000.

Then she withdrew $17,000 cash, deposited $15,000 into her other DBS account, and spent the remaining $2,000 on shopping.

Following his instructions, she re-transferred the remaining $100,000 to Hong Leong Bank account in Malaysia on 17 Dec the same year.

It was revealed in court that on 11 Dec 2012, VP Bank in Singapore received an e-mail from a businessman, Alexandre Robert Dudley Marie De Lesseps, based in Hong Kong, to transfer US$96,500 into Lye’s POSB account.

Investigations found out that Mr De Lesseps had never sent the e-mail. He then lodged a police report of the unauthorised transfer on 3 Jan 2013.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Chin said, “Lye received the money transfer into her POSB account while she had reasonable grounds to believe that the sum was another person’s benefits from criminal conduct”.

He stated that any reasonable person in her position would not have trusted ‘Allen’ and would have thought that the arrangement made no sense. She had been unsure of his identity and had felt uneasy helping him receive the money. She also should had suspicions aroused  after she received a different amount of money as previously informed to her.

The court found her guilty and sentenced Lye to 12 months jail.

She could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined up to $500,00 under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.