Man who received stolen money jailed

Former security guard who received around $90,000 from a mystery woman he met online, then transferred the money to another stranger, was jailed for 12 months yesterday.

Muhammad Hafidz Yeo, 60, claimed he had agreed to receive NZ$89,000 for one "Sherry Green" who told him she worked for the clothes chain Gap, and wanted to set up a marketing division in Singapore.

The money - equivalent to about $91,830 here - was deposited in his DBS bank account before he transferred $89,000 to someone called "Sarah" two days later, on the advice of one "Roberto Lewis". Yeo kept the difference in the two sums resulting from the currency exchange.

However, the money belonged to retired Nepalese doctor Nirmala Sherchand Sakarai, 70, who noticed it had gone missing from her National Australia Bank account on April 7 last year.

She reported the unauthorised transaction to her bank the following day and even flew to Singapore from Kathmandu to make a police report here.

The money was refunded into her bank account several months later.

Yeo represented himself in court and said he did not have the contact details of any of the women. He was convicted of receiving and transferring money he had reason to believe was stolen.

The court heard it was not the first time Yeo had been in trouble for receiving such funds.

Police had warned him in 2012 that he should not agree to receive money from people whom he knew only through the Internet.

A pre-trial conference into Yeo's remaining nine charges, which had been stood down, will be held tomorrow.

This article was published on May 20 in The Straits Times.

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