Phishing scams involving OCBC customers: SG teen reoffended while on probation

  • Internet
  • Wednesday, 04 Jan 2023

Cheng pleaded guilty on Wednesday to his role in the money laundering operation. — KELVIN CHNG/The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE: A teenager was on probation when he took part in money laundering-related activities linked to phishing scams involving OCBC Bank’s customers.

In all, the victims lost some S$12.8mil (RM42.07mil).

Brayden Cheng Ming Yan, 19, pleaded guilty on Jan 4 to his role in the money laundering operation. He also admitted to an offence under the Organised Crime Act.

Others linked to the scams, including Mark Teo Sin Yan, 32, and Leong Jun Xian, then 21, were dealt with in court earlier.

The cases involving several others, including Kong Jia Quan and Muhammad Khairuddin Eskandariah, both 20, are pending.

Cheng was earlier convicted of offences including rioting and placed on probation in August 2021.

But he returned to a life of crime and committed his latest offences from November 2021 to February 2022, said the prosecution.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Jason Chua and Ronnie Ang stated in court documents: “The accused and co-accused persons had worked together as a group to provide money-laundering services to various unknown persons believed to be linked to overseas syndicates, by sourcing for and providing control of bank accounts to these unknown persons.”

They added that some of these bank accounts were subsequently used to receive and dissipate funds from the scam victims, while other bank accounts were used to receive and dissipate funds from victims of other scams.

The syndicates also told the group to withdraw cash from automated teller machines.

The group received instructions from the unknown people, and provided the account credentials of the bank accounts they obtained for the syndicates.

They also used multiple chat groups on messaging platform Telegram to communicate with one another.

The DPPs added: “(Cheng) was a member of the K2 and Mobile Legends chat groups. He would assist to change the log-in credentials of the bank accounts provided by (the others) and transfer small amounts of monies between bank accounts to test if the accounts were working.”

According to court documents, he was paid about S$1,400 (RM4,601) in December 2021 and January 2022.

In all, the group provided at least 16 bank accounts to the syndicates in the Telegram group chats between December 2021 and February 2022, receiving nearly S$600,000 (RM1.97mil) in total from different ruses, including the phishing scams involving OCBC customers.

Between Dec 8, 2021, and Jan 19, 2022, the police received 768 reports from OCBC bank account holders who had fallen prey to phishing scams perpetrated by unknown scammers.

OCBC said in January 2022 that it made full goodwill payouts to all victims.

On Wednesday, the court called for a report to assess Cheng’s suitability for reformative training which involves detention in a centre with a strict regimen that can include foot drills and counselling.

District Judge May Mesenas also called for Cheng’s probation progress report.

His mitigation and sentencing will take place on Feb 2. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network

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