A woman in Singapore pleaded guilty to spending cash that a love scammer had deposited into her bank account from scams that she fell for herself.
Christina Cheong Yoke Lin, 63, met the scammer, a man identified only as Collins, through dating app Badoo in early August 2017.
In their conversations, the part-time English teacher claimed that a “thief on a bike” stole her money and asked for help to pay rent, according to Yahoo News Singapore.
Collins then asked if she would let his “boss’ associates” use her bank account to receive money.
According to their original arrangement, Cheong was supposedly going to keep 500 Singaporean dollars ($363) for every transaction and deliver the rest to Johor Baru, Malaysia.
On Aug. 17, 2017, a sum of 50,030 Singaporean dollars ($36,260) was deposited into her account — money from a love scam perpetrated on a 54-year-old woman.
Collins later asked Cheong to transfer 50,000 Singaporean dollars ($35,238) to one of the supposed associates.
But Cheong, who allegedly felt suspicious at the time, declined to alert the police and opted to keep the money for herself.
“From Aug. 18 until Aug. 27, 2017, Collins asked the accused repeatedly about the money but the accused kept making excuses and ignoring his WhatsApp voice calls,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jun Chong, according to The Straits Times.
Woman kept $50k banked into her account from love scamhttps://t.co/dq9ulUH1qC
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“Finally, on Aug. 27, 2017, Collins fell out with the accused and called her a ‘thief’ via WhatsApp … Thereafter, the accused ignored several WhatsApp messages and voice calls from Collins before blocking him.”
Cheong reportedly transferred 31,000 Singaporean dollars ($22,468) to a Malaysian bank account on Aug. 21, 2017 to help another man whom she was in love with.
However, the man, identified only as Mark Anthony, turned out to be another scammer detained in Malaysia.
Cheong spent 1,000 Singaporean dollars ($725) from the remaining 19,000 Singaporean dollars ($13,770) on personal expenses from Aug. 18 to Sept. 4, 2017.
Around the same time, she transferred the remainder to foreign bank accounts under the instruction of a certain “Chong Lee,” who promised her 800,000 Singaporean dollars ($580,000) for her help “as part of an inheritance scam.”
In the end, Cheong herself got conned twice before being apprehended.
She was arrested after the 54-year-old romance scam victim, who transferred a total of 135,030 Singaporean dollars ($97,926) to an “Andrew Wong,” alerted authorities on Sept. 22, 2017.
Cheong’s lawyer, Yu Kexin, said that she had made full restitution and called for an assessment for her suitability for a mandatory treatment order (MTO), claiming that she was suffering from major depressive disorder at the time of the offense.
If proven guilty of dishonestly misappropriating the money, Cheong, who is currently free after posting bail, can be fined and jailed for up to two years.
She returns to court on June 26.