Mother of 3 ‘charmed’ by love scammers helps them open bank accounts, gets jail | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams

SINGAPORE — A mother of three befriended two men online and helped them to open bank accounts that were used by scammers to receive money from victims.

Isabella Sarah Lim Gek, 58, was sentenced to jail for six weeks and 10 days on Thursday (March 7).

She pleaded guilty to two counts of cheating and a third charge of allowing her bank accounts to be used for criminal proceeds, with another six charges taken into consideration.

Lim sobbed in the dock after being sentenced.

Her lawyers told the court that she had herself fallen prey to a love scam and that she was “charmed” by the men as she felt “lonely and hopeless”.

The court heard that Lim met a person called Kenny online sometime between 2019 and 2020, and someone named Sammy after that.

Sometime in June or July 2020, she helped transfer a total of S$4,000 to Kenny and Sammy for a parcel that Kenny claimed he wanted to send to her.

However, she did not receive the parcel and lodged a police report in July 2020, saying she felt something was “not right” about her interaction with the two men.

Despite this, Lim followed Kenny’s subsequent instructions. She opened three bank accounts with CIMB Bank, DBS and Maybank and mailed the ATM cards to an address in Malaysia.

The accounts were later used to receive a total of S$16,520 from three women.

One woman, 51, transferred S$4,700 to the DBS account, out of a total of S$22,700 she was cheated of.

Another woman, 48, was cheated into transferring a total of S$165,820 to multiple bank accounts. Of this, S$9,320 went to Lim’s Maybank account.

Another 25-year-old woman was deceived into transferring S$2,500 to Lim’s CIMB account.

The police investigated Lim in September 2020 for her involvement in the above series of offences.

However, she continued to open more bank accounts which she let Sammy access.

She received S$2,775 in one of the accounts and transferred it to another account on Sammy’s instructions. The cash was later withdrawn by unknown individuals.

The prosecutor sought three to five months’ jail for Lim.

For the offences involving S$16,520 from the three female victims, the prosecutor said they were part of a transnational syndicate, with money being dissipated in Malaysia.


The father-daughter defence team comprising Mr Choo Si Sen and Ms Choo Yean Lin tried to seek a probation report for their client.

They also attempted to seek a fine or a short jail term of not more than five weeks.

The lawyers said Lim has no prior conviction. She has three children in their 20s and works part-time in the food and beverage industry.

She works in order to supplement her household income as her husband’s pay is insufficient for household expenses, the defence said.

They explained that Kenny or Sammy demanded more money from Lim after she had sent over S$4,000 to them in the parcel scam.

When she refused, the two men pressurised her into opening bank accounts instead.

They threatened harm to her family, or to publish her nude photos if she did not comply, the lawyers alleged.

“Out of fear, the accused complied as she did not want her children’s lives to be affected if she did not comply with their demands,” said Mr Choo.

He said Lim did not receive any money from the offences, instead losing S$4,000 from her hard-earned savings.

The lawyers alleged that Lim has suffered verbal abuse in her marriage but endured it for the sake of her children.

At the time of the offences, her mind was “out of sorts” as her youngest child died at the age of six.

“Coupled with the financial burden and the verbal abuse by her husband, she felt that she was under a lot of stress and thus was feeling gullible when Kenny or Sammy started to befriend her,” said the lawyers.

They said Lim was feeling so “lonely and hopeless” that she was charmed by the two men, and argued that she was a love scam victim who should be pitied.

For each count of abetting cheating, Lim could have been jailed for up to three years, fined, or both.

For opening bank accounts to facilitate criminal conduct, she could have been jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to S$500,000, or both. CNA

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