A 39-year-old Singapore man was arrested for fraud on March 25 2020 upon his return to Singapore. An overseas pharmaceutical company was scammed for approximately €6.636 million ($10.3 million USD) over the purchase of surgical masks and hand sanitizers, which they never received. After placing the order, the company was left with several unsuccessful attempts in trying to establish contact with the seller.
The transaction was processed through online email correspondence and the company had transferred the full amount of $10.3 million to the seller.
After the arrest of the seller, authorities discovered that part of the money was transferred out of Singapore via multiple banks. There is now an ongoing investigation for multiple offences against the scammer for Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation Of Benefits) Act, which carries a fine of not more than $500,000 or a jail term for not more than 10 years, or both.
So far, the Anti-Scam Centre has managed to recover $6.4 million, through quick intervention and collaboration with seven banks that were used for laundering the funds.
The banks involved were DBS, Standard Charted, HSBC, United Overseas Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, and CIMB.
“This is the biggest single recovery since the formation of the Centre. Efforts are underway to trace and recover the remaining monies” – Anti-Scam Centre Police officer.
This is one of many cases coming to light amidst the COVID-19 pandemic; unfortunately, scammers are trying to take advantage of the situation by tricking unassuming customers for personal gain.
We’d like to urge caution to all our readers while shopping online during this time. It’s a good idea to check reviews and seller ratings before purchasing anything. Stay vigilant, stay safe!