313 people arrested for e-commerce scams and money laundering totalling over $1.2 million, Singapore News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – In the first half of August alone, 313 suspects have been arrested for alleged scams, money laundering and unlicensed moneylending

The police has warned that online scams represent a growing threat.

The suspects, aged between 16 and 76, were arrested in a nine-day enforcement operation from Aug 3 to Aug 14.

Officers from the Bedok Police Division are investigating a total of 220 men and 93 women for the alleged offences.

Some 49 men and 29 women, aged between 19 and 72, are being investigated for their suspected involvement in e-commerce scams and money laundering activities involving transactions totalling over $1.24 million.

During the operation, five men and four women, aged between 16 and 56, were arrested for their suspected involvement in cases of cheating and criminal breach of trust.

A total of 166 men and 60 women, aged between 16 and 76, are being investigated for their suspected involvement in loan scams and loan shark activities involving transactions exceeding $296,000.

Among these, 34 men and eight women were arrested for offences under the Moneylenders Act.

Commander of Bedok Police Division and Assistant Commissioner of Police Julius Lim said the operation reflected the division’s commitment to keeping residents safe online at a time when more people were using the internet.

“The scale of the operation reminds us of the growing threat of online scams. It behooves us to exercise caution when using the Internet.

“To avoid becoming an accomplice to scams, the public is advised to reject requests by others to use your bank account or mobile lines as they may be later used for illegal transactions. We hope the public will join us in staying vigilant,” he said.

The number of e-commerce scams committed from January to March 2020 was up by 116.2 per cent from the same period last year, reaching 1,159 from 536.

During this period, people got cheated out of at least S$1.3 million, compared with $469,000 in the same period last year. The largest sum cheated in a single case was $175,000.

Under the Moneylenders Act, first time offenders convicted of assisting in carrying on the business of unlicensed money lending may be fined up to between $30,000 and $300,000, jailed up to four years and receive up to six strokes of the cane.

Second time offenders may be fined between $30,000 and $300,000, jailed up to seven years and  receive up to 12 strokes of the cane.

Those convicted of cheating may be jailed up to 10 years and fined.

Those convicted of money laundering may be jailed up to 10 years and fined up to $500,000.

Those convicted of criminal breach of trust may be jailed up to seven years, fined, or both.

— to www.straitstimes.com

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