First person linked to OCBC phishing scam in S’pore pleads guilty to offences including money laundering

People walk past an OCBC bank branch in Singapore. OCBC said in January that it had made full goodwill payouts to all victims. — Reuters

SINGAPORE: The first person linked to the OCBC phishing scams has admitted in a district court to offences including money laundering.

Leong Jun Xian, 20, pleaded guilty on Wednesday (April 20) to two counts each of dealing with the benefits of criminal conduct and rioting.

He also admitted to a charge under the Organised Crime Act.

He was one of seven youth charged in February over their alleged involvement in the scams.

The cases involving the other alleged offenders are still pending.

They are Brayden Cheng Ming Yan, 19; Jovan Soh Jun Yan, 20; Muhammad Khairuddin Eskandariah, 20; Lim Kai Ze, 21; and two others who cannot be named as they were below 18 when they allegedly committed their other offences.

The Straits Times reported that 790 customers lost some S$13mil (RM40.62mil) to the phishing scams, which took place in December last year and January this year.

OCBC said in January that it had made full goodwill payouts to all victims.

Its chief executive Helen Wong had also said that this was a one-off payout made because of the speed at which the scam unfolded and other circumstances leading to it.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced in early February that it is developing a framework on how losses arising from scams are to be shared among consumers and financial institutions, while also working with the industry on “longer-term measures” to enhance the security of digital banking.

On Wednesday, District Judge Kessler Soh called for reports to assess Leong's suitability for both probation and reformative training.

Offenders given the latter will be detained in a centre and made to follow a strict regimen that includes foot drills and counselling.

Leong is expected to be sentenced in June. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network

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