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Woman jailed more than 7 years for helping overseas scammers move over S$2m out of Singapore

SINGAPORE — A 46-year-old woman who helped scammers based overseas move more than S$2 million out of Singapore has been jailed more than seven years for her involvement as a money mule.

Woman jailed more than 7 years for helping overseas scammers move over S$2m out of Singapore

Rohaiza Alap, 46, helped scammers based overseas move more than S$2 million out of Singapore.

  • Rohaiza Alap, 46, was jailed 84 months (or seven years) and four weeks  
  • She got involved in money laundering after getting to know her boyfriend, a Malaysia-based Nigerian scammer 
  • She allowed her bank account to be used for receiving criminal proceeds and earned a part of it as commission 
  • She later got involved with more Nigerian scammers, and roped in her friends and relatives

 

SINGAPORE — A 46-year-old woman who helped scammers based overseas move more than S$2 million out of Singapore has been jailed more than seven years for her involvement as a money mule.

On Monday (Aug 2), Singaporean Rohaiza Alap was sentenced to 84 months (or seven years) and four weeks in jail after she pleaded guilty to 15 charges last month.  

These charges are:

  • Eight counts of conspiring with others to receive criminal proceeds through their bank accounts

  • Three counts of providing her bank accounts to receive criminal proceeds

  • Two counts of moving cash exceeding the prescribed amount out of Singapore without giving a report of the movement

  • One count of disclosing prejudicial information 

  • One count of intentionally aiding someone to possess money reasonably suspected of being stolen or obtained fraudulently 

Forty-three other charges were considered during sentencing.

THE CASE

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ang Siok Chen told the court that Rohaiza became involved in money laundering after she got to know her boyfriend, a Nigerian man who was named in court documents as Christian, sometime in January 2013.

The prosecutor said that Rohaiza knew that Christian, who was based in Malaysia, was “involved in scamming people around the world”.  

Nevertheless, she began helping Christian in his schemes in September 2013. 

This required Rohaiza, who was the sole proprietor of wholesale trader R & C Trading Enterprise, to receive in her bank account money derived from Christian’s scams. 

Thereafter, she transferred the sums to Christian, who then paid her a commission of 5 per cent of the criminal proceeds that she had received in her account. 

Rohaiza, however, later found out from Christian’s contacts, who were other Nigerian scammers, that the commission she should have received from her boyfriend was meant to be much higher. 

As a result, on top of aiding her boyfriend, she decided to help these Nigerian scammers as well as others she got to know through social network Facebook. 

By helping them, through the same modus operandi she used with her boyfriend, Rohaiza earned a 10 per cent commission. 

Over time, she started more bank accounts, either in her name or her company’s, to receive criminal proceeds from the Nigerians. 

She also recruited seven others, including her friends and relatives, to get them to use their bank accounts for similar reasons.

Rohaiza would inform them of the commissions due to them. 

This, DPP Ang said, would be a portion of the commission that the Nigerian contacts promised Rohaiza and she would keep the remainder.

The prosecutor said Rohaiza claimed that she was earning about S$10,000 a week when she was receiving her commission of 10 per cent and, as of 2018, had earned more than S$100,000.

Through a total of 25 bank accounts that she provided, she laundered more than S$1.35 million. 

In a statement about the case on Monday, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and Singapore Police Force said that in all, Rohaiza had helped the scammers move more than S$2 million out of Singapore. This took place between 2014 and 2017.

The agencies said that scam cases remained a major crime concern in Singapore. They formed 42.1 per cent of overall crimes last year — a leap from 27.2 per cent in 2019.

“Scams perpetrated from overseas are of particular concern, because it is difficult and nearly impossible to recover monies once they are transferred out of Singapore,” they said. 

“This is further compounded when scams are enabled by individuals who allow their bank accounts to be used by scammers to receive monies, hide their tracks, and launder the proceeds of crime.”

The Attorney-General’s Chambers and Singapore Police Force said that Rohaiza’s sentence was in line with the prosecution’s submission. 

In future cases, sentences in this range would be sought for persons who knowingly allow their bank accounts to be used for criminal purposes, they added. 

“We will continue to work together to deter offenders from using Singapore’s financial system as a refuge or conduit for illicit funds.”

Related topics

money mule court crime AGC police

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