Man in S’pore allegedly collected scam monies for woman he met on dating platform, helped convert it to crypto

The funds were converted to cryptocurrency before being transferred to overseas digital wallets. — Reuters

SINGAPORE: A man who allegedly collected money from scam victims before moving the funds to cryptocurrency wallets overseas was charged on Jan 11.

Tay Beng Kok, 47, who is also known as Zheng Minge, was charged with two counts of possessing monies which were benefits from criminal conduct, and one count of providing illegal payment services.

He is alleged to have had in his possession S$35,000 (RM122,211) in a Citibank account in April 2023 and S$50,000 (RM174,588) in cash in March 2023, which were monies that were in whole or in part another person’s benefits from criminal conduct.

Between Feb 1 and May 5, 2023, he is alleged to have illegally provided a digital payment token service to a person known to him only as “Lizy”.

Courts documents said Tay had accepted money through his POSB, UOB and Citibank accounts with the purpose of buying more than S$320,000 (RM1.11mil) worth of cryptocurrency that was transferred to wallets belonging to “Lizy”.

On Jan 10, the police said they received reports in May 2023 of an Internet love scam in which money was transferred to a bank account belonging to a man.

Police investigations later found he had been operating multiple bank accounts which had received funds from dubious sources, with the funds having been converted to cryptocurrency before being transferred to overseas digital wallets.

The police added that in further investigations, they found that in March 2023, he received instructions from a woman he become acquainted with on an online dating application.

Acting on her instructions, he is believed to have collected cash of S$50,000 (RM174,588) from another victim of a scam near her workplace, said the police.

The police warned that scammers are recruiting people to receive and transfer stolen money on their behalf, and may also cultivate potential money mules through online dating platforms to facilitate the transfer of illegal proceeds.

Members of the public are advised to reject requests to use their bank accounts to receive, transfer or collect money on behalf of another person for bank transfers.

Tay has been offered bail for S$15,000 (RM52,367), and his case is expected to be heard again on Feb 15.

If convicted of possessing benefits from criminal conduct, he may be jailed for up to 10 years, or fined up to S$500,000 (RM1.74mil), or both. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network

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