Taiwanese member of police impersonation scam syndicate jailed
Unable to service a debt he owed to an unlicensed moneylender in Taiwan because he needed to pay for his father's medical expenses, Chen Peng-Yu, 36, became involved in a transnational syndicate which ran a series of police impersonation scams here.
For his role in the operation, collecting and delivering $803,000 in ill-gotten gains from seven mostly elderly victims, Chen was yesterday jailed 4 years and 10 months.
He is one of four Taiwanese men who were nabbed for being part of the syndicate.
Two of his co-accused - Chen You-Jeng, 34, and Hsieh Teng-Chia, 31 - were jailed three years and two years and nine months, respectively, last September. The third, Huang Ying-Chun, 53, was jailed for 51/2 years last December on appeal.
According to court documents, the Taiwanese moneylender whom Chen was in debt to also ran nightclubs and illegal casinos there.
He asked Chen to work for him when he could no longer pay up.Chen's job was to collect and hand over money in Singapore as instructed.
On 12 instances in 2017, between June 22 and July 7, Chen was instructed to arrange for the collection of money that had been transferred into the bank accounts of "victim-mules".
Pressured by syndicate operatives pretending to be police, these mules would accept and withdraw the money, which came from victims of the impersonation scam.
Chen arranged for his three co-accused to collect and/or pass on this money to others.
During sentencing, District Judge Mathew Joseph accepted that Chen was remorseful, but he agreed with the prosecution that his role was bigger than that of a mere runner.
Noting that money laundering and police impersonation scams are serious crimes, the judge said Chen's sentence needed to reflect the public interest of deterrence.