9 months’ jail for man who sold his bank account, which was later used in scams | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams

SINGAPORE – Despite knowing that selling bank accounts is illegal here, a man sold his account, which was later used to receive over $138,000 from scam victims.

Chinese national Zhang Demin, 33, was on Tuesday sentenced to nine months’ jail after pleading guilty to one charge under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

When Zhang came to Singapore in September 2021 to work, he opened a bank account here. Less than two months into the job, Zhang needed to return to China because his father was sick.

He searched online for ways to sell his bank account and found a buyer – an unidentified man to whom he agreed to sell his bank account and the SIM card linked to the account for $1,000.

In November 2021, two days before he was due to leave Singapore, Zhang met the man near his workplace and handed over his ATM card, its PIN number, and his Internet mobile banking access ID and password. The man then logged into Zhang’s online banking account on the spot and locked Zhang’s access.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Qi Shuen said Zhang had arranged for the sale to happen two days before his flight as he knew that selling bank accounts was illegal here and was worried about getting into trouble.

“However, he still did so because he needed money. He was under the impression that his bank account would be used for gambling transactions and had asked for the account to not be used for money laundering activities,” added DPP Goh.

Around two weeks later, a victim of an Internet love scam, two victims of a gambling platform scam and three victims of an investment scam transferred a total of $138,475.50 into Zhang’s former bank account.

“The funds that were received in the accused’s account were thus benefits of criminal conduct,” said DPP Goh.

The money was transferred out of the account soon after, and as at Dec 2, 2021, around $2,000 was left in the account.

Zhang, who was unaware his account had been used by scammers, was arrested on Aug 31, 2022, when he returned to Singapore.

In her submissions, DPP Goh said the amount transacted through the bank account was significant and noted that one of the victims was a 60-year-old man who lost $100,000 in an investment scam.

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