PETALING JAYA, Jan 12 — Two Singaporeans were sentenced to 16 months of prison in the republic after being found guilty of receiving and laundering US$320,000 (RM1.27 million) on behalf of a syndicate based in Kuala Lumpur.
Channel News Asia reported siblings, Shaqilah Mohamad Rafie, 25, and Rausyan Sajjad Mohamad Rafie, 24, pleaded guilty to two charges each of receiving the stolen property swindled from Barbados-based Faith Universal Investments Limited.
Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department had on March 12, 2016 received a report from the company over receiving spoof emails which had tricked it into wiring money to a Singapore-registered company, Khoo Repairs.
This was after two transactions, one on March 3 worth RM596,010 and another on March 7 worth RM675,478 were wired to Khoo Repairs.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Magdalene Huang told a District Court there that Shaqilah had met Nigerian Adewale Oladokun David in 2015 after moving to Kuala Lumpur in 2015.
“He told Shaqilah of how he had engaged successfully in extortion and ran love scams, scams on Alibaba and wire scams,” Huang was quoted saying.
Adewale had persuaded Shaqilah to open a bank account on his behalf in the island country, but she had been unable to do so as she was “unable to provide many documents”.
She then recruited her brother Rausyan, who was at the time a full-time national serviceman in the Singapore Civil Defence Force, to look for someone interested in earning “quick money” to set up a company with a bank account.
Rausyan approached a colleague, Nicholas Ryan Khoo, who had previously set up an air conditioning business but was unable to secure a government loan to get it moving.
Khoo agreed to receiving the stolen money and was supposed to withdraw the money and pass it to Rausyan who would in turn pass it to Shaqilah, earning RM33,491 for his part, while the siblings pocketed RM26,913.
Shaqilah spent her earnings on herself, purchasing food and clothing, while Rausyan spent his on his parents and girlfriend but handed over RM1,495 to investigators after being picked up.
Lawyer R Kalamohan had urged the court to consider Shaqilah’s background, explaining that she had been forced “to carry the responsibility of providing for her family at a young age” after both her parents were retrenched.
“At one point the family nearly lost their home because they could not afford their mortgage. Shaqilah had also struggled to end an abusive relationship with Adewale, who had threatened to harm her family, cut her with a penknife and had thrown a hot iron on her back.”
“She felt that she had no choice but to carry out the transactions,” he added submitting photographic proof of her abuse to the court,” Kalamohan reportedly said.
Rausyan’s lawyer Ashwin Ganapathy said his client had been coerced into going along with the plan after finding out Adewale was abusing his sister and “couldn’t bear to leave her in grave danger”.
The mitigation worked as the pair initially faced a maximum sentence of five years jail and fined under the country’s strict anti-money laundering laws.