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Jail for woman who posed as cop on scammer’s instructions, tricked retiree into signing bank form

SINGAPORE — A woman who followed a scammer’s directions to impersonate a police officer and cheat a retiree was jailed for three months and two weeks on Wednesday (April 6).

Jail for woman who posed as cop on scammer’s instructions, tricked retiree into signing bank form
  • A man posing as a Singapore police officer got Ho Yin Fen to scam other people
  • He asked her to similarly pretend to be a police officer and cheat a 78-year-old retiree
  • The retiree signed a form that would have allowed the scammer access to her bank account
  • The real police managed to intervene in time

SINGAPORE — A woman who followed a scammer’s directions to impersonate a police officer and cheat a retiree was jailed for three months and two weeks on Wednesday (April 6).

Ho Yin Fen, 31, showed the 78-year-old victim a fake police warrant card and got the older woman to sign a form to change her contact details for her bank account.

Through this, the scammer would have eventually gained access to the account, which had about S$36,000 in it. However, the police were able to intervene before the form was processed.

Ho pleaded guilty to one count of cheating by personation, with another charge taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court heard that in January last year, Ho was contacted by someone named "Li" who claimed to be from the police in China.

Li told Ho that she was being investigated for money laundering in Singapore, and told her to report to him on a daily basis. She complied.

Several months later in August, someone else — who identified himself as "Lu" — told Ho that he was a “Singaporean officer from Cantonment”, a reference to the Police Cantonment Complex.

Lu said that he would be “taking over” Ho’s case from Li and that she should report to him instead.

In early September, Lu said that he was conducting a secret investigation and wanted her to help with delivering documents to others, who he alleged were involved in her money laundering case.

Although Ho believed his claim at first that he was a police officer, she began to suspect that he was lying. However, she still agreed to follow his instructions and did not try to verify his identity.

She complied with his request to open an HSBC bank account. After S$3,000 was transferred into the account, she was told that the money was meant to cover her expenses such as transportation fees.

Over WhatsApp, Lu then sent her images of documents that had purportedly been issued by the Singapore courts, as well as a Singapore Police Force warrant card, and told her to print them out.

The fake warrant card bore Ho’s full name, photograph, the Singapore Police Force logo and the words “DAC Muhd Noor B Muhd Abd Rahim”. 

FILLED IN FORM FOR VICTIM

On Sept 25, the victim received a call from someone who claimed that he was a police officer from Outram Park, where the Police Cantonment Complex is located.

When he told her that she was being investigated for money laundering and asked for her mobile phone number, she replied that she did not have a mobile phone.

Acting on Lu’s instructions, Ho then went to the victim’s residence, showed her the fake warrant card, introduced herself as officer Ho and told her that she was being investigated for money laundering.

Ho then handed the victim an iPhone that Lu had told her to buy with money from the HSBC account. She also took the older woman to Bukit Panjang Plaza to buy a SIM card to use with the phone.

Three days later, Ho went to the victim’s home again and wheeled her in her wheelchair to a United Overseas Bank branch at Bukit Panjang Plaza.

There, Ho got the victim to sign a form that would lead to a change in her contact details in relation to her UOB account. Ho filled in the form for the victim beforehand.

The victim complied and the form was submitted to staff members at the UOB branch.

Unknown to Ho, another of her victims had filed a police report earlier that month. The police were able to intervene in time and arrest her before the victim lost any money.

Ho could have been jailed for up to five years or fined, or punished with both.

Related topics

court crime Scam cheating police bank impersonation

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