Man gets 4 years' jail for money laundering
He transferred over $800,000
In 2013, he had about $850,000 wired into his four bank accounts within a month.
From these, business development manager Ong Kim Chuan, 56, withdrew about $808,000 and transferred it to a "Mr Lim".
He kept about $42,000 as commission.
Despite knowing he had received stolen money and feeling he was being used as a "scapegoat", Ong kept dealing with the people he had met about a month before he started receiving the money.
Yesterday, District Judge Low Wee Ping sentenced Ong to four years' jail.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly receiving stolen money and one count of transferring the proceeds. Ong received the stolen money between Aug 22 and Sept 11, 2013.
Unknown people had hacked into four overseas bank accounts and ordered the banks to wire the money to Ong, who had no business dealings with the bank account holders.
In July that year, Ong, who was working at Nan Wah Marketing, a supplier of sanitary wares and accessories, was introduced by a friend to businessman "Karim" who showed interest in buying sanitary wares for a housing project in Kuwait.
He was later introduced to Karim's colleague, "Angie", who brought a "Mr Lim" into the picture.
Ong was suspicious when Malaysian-based Angie, who said she did not have a Malaysian bank account, told him to receive funds from Karim on her behalf. A 4 per cent commission was promised to Ong.
The receipt and transfer of large amounts of money were not "legitimate" and "not clean", Ong told investigators.
Angie's instructions to use different bank accounts to receive the funds was "fishy", he said.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Lai, who had asked for a total jail term of four years, said Ong was culpable based on the aggravating factors.
Ong had committed multiple offences. The amount stolen and received was large, and foreign victims had suffered, said Mr Lai.
On Aug 30, 2013, Ong ignored an e-mail from the friend who had made the introduction warning him that Angie's business conduct was dubious.
Defence lawyer Edmund Nathansaid his client had acted based on friendship.
Mr Lim and Angie could not be traced by investigators.
Ong will surrender to the court on Feb 29 to serve his sentence.
This money laundering plays a major - critical role in fact - for most international criminal enterprises.
- District Judge Low Wee Ping