Woman in SG, 75, opened bank account on boyfriend’s behalf, received RM900,000 from suspicious sources

Kang deceived the bank into believing that she was the sole operator of her account. — Pexels

SINGAPORE: An elderly woman who met her “online boyfriend” on WhatsApp opened a bank account on his behalf which was later used to receive nearly S$260,000 (RM904,636) from suspicious sources.

Kang Pue Hua, 75, who also had accounts with different banks, later lied to the police, claiming that she had lost her ATM card linked to one of them.

In reality, she had handed it to her “boyfriend”, known as “John Lee Marina”, whose real identity remains unknown.

On May 29, Kang pleaded guilty to one count of cheating as she had deceived the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) into believing that she was the sole operator of her account with it.

She also pleaded guilty to a second charge – performing an act that could pervert the course of justice by lying to a police officer.

Some time before December 2021, Kang got to know John, who claimed to be a Singaporean and had lived in the United States for many years before returning home. He also said that he had worked on a ship.

He told her to open a bank account on his behalf. She agreed, and visited an ICBC branch in Ang Mo Kio on Dec 24, 2021.

In the application form, Kang declared that she would have sole control of the account.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jun Kai told the court: “The accused knew this fact to be false. The accused’s intention was to intentionally induce ICBC into opening a bank account for her. She would then allow John to control (it).”

After the account was opened, Kang arranged for an ATM card linked to it to be mailed to John. She also sent him the corresponding PIN via WhatsApp.

From Dec 27, 2021, to Feb 25, 2022, unknown third parties used the account to make transactions, including nearly S$260,000 (RM904,636) of inward transfers that were considered suspicious.

According to court documents, Kang also had an account with OCBC Bank.

On Jan 3, 2022, a person identified as Ms Goh lodged a police report stating that she had transferred S$10,300 (RM35,838) to Kang’s OCBC account as instructed by a man known as “Kelvin Lin”.

Court documents did not disclose the reasons behind the transaction.

Kang went to the Bishan Neighbourhood Police Centre on March 16, 2022, and lied in her statement that she had lost her OCBC ATM card, when she had actually handed it to John.

DPP Ng said: “She had discussed... with John prior to March 16, 2022, and decided to put forward a false story in order to conceal the fact that she had... given him the ATM card and PIN.”

Kang’s mitigation and sentencing will be held in July. – The Straits Times (Singapore)/Asia News Network

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