Singapore

Man jailed for helping firm get $4.4 million in stolen money

Construction firm director jailed 5 years

Employees of a bank in the Caribbean were duped into transferring more than $4.4 million of their client's money into a Singapore bank account in 2013.

Yesterday, the court heard that staff members of RBC Royal Bank (Trinidad and Tobago) made the error because they had overlooked a tiny difference between the fraudsters' e-mail domain and that of their client - the National Insurance Property Development Company (Nipdec). Genuine e-mails from Nipdec have the domain @nipdec.com. The ones RBC received ended with @nipderc.com

The monies were transferred to a Bank of China account in Singapore owned by Hayashi Construction and Engineering. It was controlled by a director of the company, Singaporean Ambrose Dionysius, 60.

He was sentenced yesterday to five years' jail after abetting his company in receiving the stolen cash. He also committed money laundering when he transported $400,000 of the cash from Singapore to Malaysia.

In addition, he transferred $585,217 to his Malaysian associate, Ms Song Li Woon.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Leong Weng Tat said Dionysius was involved in one of the biggest money laundering cases the courts have seen to date.

Dionysius was convicted of the offences on July 18.

District Judge Imran Abdul Hamid found him guilty on two counts each of abetting to receive stolen property, receiving stolen property and physically moving across the Causeway more than $30,000 in cash without giving a report to an authorised officer.

The judge also convicted him on three counts of transferring and removing from Singapore benefits of his criminal activities.

DPP Leong said RBC had received an e-mail on July 5, 2013, for a wire transfer, purportedly from Nipdec. The bank failed to spot the difference in the addresses and did as instructed, remitting €671,856 (S$1.06 million) from Nipdec's account to Hayashi's in Singapore.

DPP Leong told Judge Imran that "on July 12, 2013, employing the same modus operandi, the fraudsters deceived RBC into wiring a further sum of €2,031,985 million to Hayashi".

Nipdec's general manager stated in an affidavit that the company never had any dealings with Hayashi.

RBC reimbursed Nipdec in full after the offences came to light. The bank suffered a loss of some $4 million. It was able to recover about $3 million.

Defence lawyer S. Radakrishnan told the court yesterday that his client did not receive any money from the transactions. Dionysius will be appealing against his conviction and sentence. He is out on $250,000 bail.

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