Man linked to phishing scams involving OCBC customers admits being part of crime group

SINGAPORE: man linked to phishing scams that saw multiple OCBC Bank customers lose around S$12.8 million in total has admitted that he worked with others to provide money laundering services.

Jovan Soh Jun Yan and his accomplices had sourced for and provided control of bank accounts to various unknown people who are believed to be linked to overseas syndicates.

Some of these bank accounts were later used to receive and dissipate funds from multiple victims, including OCBC customers.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua said that Soh’s group, made up of eight people, facilitated the dissipation of at least $599,407 in total from the scam victims.

On Feb 15, Soh, a 21-year-old Singaporean, pleaded guilty to three charges including being part of a money laundering operation and a member of an organised crime group.

Some of his accomplices, including Leong Jun Xian and Muhammad Khairuddin Eskandariah, were dealt with in court earlier.

Leong, who was 19 at the time of the offences, was ordered to undergo reformative training for at least a year in 2022.

Young offenders sentenced to reformative training are detained in a centre to observe a strict regimen that can include foot drills and counselling.

Khairuddin, who was then 20, was sentenced to probation in 2023.

DPP Chua told the court that between Dec 8, 2021, and Jan 19, 2022, the police received 768 reports from OCBC account holders who had fallen prey to phishing scams perpetrated by unknown scammers.

He added: “The victims in these reports informed that their bank accounts had been compromised and funds were thereafter transferred out of their accounts without authorisation.”

Soh and his accomplices then worked together to provide money laundering services to multiple unknown people linked to the scams.

Soh’s group had received instructions from the unknown parties in multiple chat groups on messaging platform Telegram. Members of Soh’s group also used Telegram to communicate with one another.

The group provided at least 16 bank accounts to the syndicates in the Telegram group chats between December 2021 and February 2022.

The bank accounts then received nearly $600,000 from different scams, including those involving OCBC customers.

OCBC said in January 2022 that it had made full goodwill payouts to its customers affected by the scams.

Soh was a member of three chat groups and had sourced for bank accounts from unknown people on Telegram.

He had also provided the bank account details to a syndicate in one of the chat groups.

His group worked for different people, including one known only as “William”, who promised Soh a salary of $3,000 a month.

“William” also promised him an additional $600 to $800 for each bank account he provided. Details about William and his case were not disclosed in court documents.

Soh’s offences came to light after police received the reports between December 2021 and January 2022. Sixteen people, including him, were arrested soon after.

On Feb 15, DPP Chua urged the court to sentence Soh to imprisonment of between a year and 15 months, stressing that he is not eligible to be given reformative training as he is now 21 years old.

The prosecutor also said that Soh had earlier indicated that he wanted to admit to his offences on April 3, 2023, before he turned 21.

However, he decided not to do so at the time as he took issue with the facts of case laid out by the prosecution.

DPP Chua said: “It is telling that since the previous plead guilty mention, the accused has not referred the prosecution to the portions of the statement of facts that he purportedly had issues with.”

Soh is expected to be sentenced on Feb 29. - The Straits Times/ANN

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Singapore , phishing , scandal , OCBC


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