SINGAPORE – A customer service officer was repeatedly told by the police that the monies transferred to her bank account were proceeds of criminal conduct.
Officers also advised her to stop receiving cash from unknown sources.
But Rahmeswati Semass refused to listen to them and continued being a money mule for her online lover, whom she had never met in person.
She also made use of accounts belonging to two colleagues to receive the cash after duping the women into giving her their banking details.
Rahmeswati, 48, was jailed for eight months on Wednesday (July 11) after pleading guilty to three counts of dealing with the benefits of criminal activities.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Randeep Singh Koonar said that in 2013, Rahmeswati befriended a man known as Kelvin Jacks on Facebook who claimed to be a Canadian businessman based in Malaysia.
The Straits Times understands that he is still at large.
Rahmeswati later treated Jacks as her online lover, and the following year, he asked if she could help him receive some money in her bank account, the court heard.
Rahmeswati gave him her bank account details, and about US$15,000 (S$ 20,400) was deposited into it in August 2014.
On Jacks’ instructions, Rahmeswati withdrew about $19,000 and handed the money over to an unknown person.
The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) later received information that a foreign company had transferred some of the cash to Rahmeswati’s account as it had acted on fraudulent remittance instructions.
Details of this firm were not mentioned in court documents.
CAD interviewed Rahmeswati on Jan 13, 2015, and officers told her that the monies were proceeds of crime, the court heard.
In late 2016, Jacks contacted her again, asking for a similar favour and she agreed to help him.
She approached her colleague, Ms Rizdhawati Moktar, 38, and lied to the younger woman, claiming that she had to transfer some money but did not have her own bank account.
Trusting her, Ms Rizdhawati passed Rahmeswati her bank account details as well as her ATM card and personal identification number. Rahmeswati then gave her colleague’s bank account details to Jacks.
The court heard that on Oct 25, 2016, a victim of an online love scam was duped into transferring $6,000 into Ms Rizdhawati’s bank account.
Acting on instructions from Jacks, Rahmeswati withdrew $5,500 later that month and gave the cash to an unknown man near Lakeside MRT station.
The online love scam victim lodged a police report on Oct 27, 2016, and police interviewed Rahmeswati again in May last year about the matter.
But in December last year, Jacks asked her for the same favour yet again, and this time, Rahmeswati duped another colleague, Ms Leif Realyn Filosofo, 39, into handing over her bank account details.
Two other scam victims later deposited more than $14,000 in total into Ms Filosofo’s account.
To date, only $3,000 has been returned to one of the scam victims.
No further restitution has been made to them, the court heard.