Two Nigerians charged over roles in Internet love scams involving at least $85,700
Two Nigerian men, believed to be part of an African syndicate, were hauled to court yesterday for their alleged roles in transnational Internet love scams here.
Gbolahan Ayobami Awolola, 37, and Oladayo Opeyemi Awolola, 34, were each charged with one count of abetting others to dishonestly receive stolen property.
They have been remanded at Central Police Division for further investigations.
The men, who were unrepresented, will return to court on Tuesday next week , and if convicted, they can be jailed for up to five years and fined.
This is the first time overseas-based suspects involved in Internet love scams have been arrested and brought to Singapore for prosecution, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a statement on Monday.
The men are alleged to have recruited two Singaporean women as money mules to receive at least $85,700 from Internet love scam victims here between 2017 and last year.
The women then allegedly laundered the money by handing the cash to syndicate members in Malaysia.
It is not clear if the men are related.
According to the charge sheet for Oladayo Opeyemi Awolola, he allegedly engaged in a conspiracy with a woman, Ms Suhaili Suparjo, last January.
Ms Suhaili is said to have received $46,500 from one Peng Guie and had reason to believe the money was stolen property, court documents said.
A joint investigation between SPF's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and the Royal Malaysia Police's Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) established the identities of the men.
They were arrested in Kuala Lumpur by CCID officers last month and brought to Singapore on Monday.
In their statement, the SPF said cross-border Internet love scams are a concern, with 660 cases reported here last year. The victims in these cases were cheated of at least $27.5 million.
Police said they will continue joint efforts with their Malaysian counterparts to take down such scam syndicates.
CAD director David Chew said: "This joint investigation shows our common resolve to send a strong deterrent message to criminals who are minded to prey on our citizens from the safety of national boundaries - that we can and will work with our foreign counterparts to identify, arrest and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."