Man jailed for aiding $27M transnational money laundering scheme involving Singaporean accounts

18-May-2019 Intellasia | Yahoo News Singapore | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A Nigerian man involved in a transnational money laundering scheme spanning seven countries and amounting to $27,200,000 was jailed three years on Thursday (16 May).

Paul Gabriel Amos, who is married to a Singaporean and is a Singapore permanent resident himself, handled more than a million in funds which were cheated from the National Bank of Ethiopia.

Separately, the 47-year-old was accused of driving recklessly after he cut into the path of another driver with his blue Lamborghini.

He pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the dishonest receipt of stolen funds, one charge of using the benefits of criminal conduct, and three charges relating to the traffic incident.

Another six charges, including using the benefits from criminal conduct, were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Amos was ordered to pay a fine of $4,200 and disqualified from driving for a year. As Amos did not pay the fine, he will serve an additional 21 days of jail.

The facts of the case

Amos, a director of Pags Resources, was in Singapore in 2008 when he received a call from a Nigerian friend who informed him of a ploy to cheat money from the Ethiopian government.

The scheme involved fake instructions purportedly given by the National Bank of Ethiopia to Citibank N.A. New York to transfer $27,200,000 from its corporate account to beneficiaries in the USA, Australia, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Korea.

The friend, Robert Umohette, asked Amos to provide a bank account to transfer the ill-gotten proceeds into. Amos agreed to help on the condition that he would receive a cut of the cheated funds as commission.

Amos roped in another friend, a director of a firm in Australia, who then used his firm’s account to receive the stolen funds. A total of $1,840,000 of cheated funds was transferred into the Australian bank account.

Under the instructions of Umohette and with Amos’ help, a portion of the stolen funds amounting to $669,509.42 (S$987,526.40) was transferred to the bank account of another company in Singapore on 15 October 2008. Another smaller sum was also transferred to a bank account in Hong Kong.

Amos then flew to Hong Kong to collect his commission, as he wanted to avoid the stolen funds being traced to him. Around 10 October 2008, Amos collected $300,000 in cash that was withdrawn from the bank account in Hong Kong.

Amos’ wife then opened a bank account in the Chinese territory, where the illicit proceeds were deposited.

Of the sum, $290,000 (S$426,995.55) was wired into Amos’ firm’s bank account in Singapore on 21 October 2008. Amos used S$40,000 of this amount to pay for personal expenses.

Three countries on his trail

Between October and November 2008, Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department received information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Australian Federal Police concerning fraudulent instructions which were sent to Citibank N.A. New York involving $27,200,000.

A sum of S$34,930.94 was recovered from Amos during investigations. He has also made restitution of S$100,000.

In relation to the money-laundering scheme, Amos was arrested in Los Angeles in January 2009 when he tried to enter the US. He was indicted in February that year and was held in the States for a few months. However Amos was not convicted of the bank fraud charges, according to earlier media reports.

Separately, on 2 October 2016, while driving his Lamborghini along East Coast Park expressway towards Changi Airport, Amos squeezed in between a van and another car while filtering lanes. He narrowly avoided a collision with both vehicles. No one was injured during the incident.

At the time, Amos only had an International Driving License and had not converted his license.

The prosecution said that in the light of Amos’ money laundering offences, “it was important to protect Singapore’s reputation as a clean and trusted financial centre” and to deter like-minded offenders.

Amos’ lawyer Chung Ting Fai argued for a sentence of 25 months.

The lawyer said that after Amos’ experience of being held in the US, “having to go through the whole criminal process in Singaporeof being prosecuted… and constantly worrying about his children, has been a harrowing and sobering experience for Amos.”

He said that being incarcerated has cause Amos “extreme mental anguish” and that his client has since developed health problems.

Amos’ properties in Singapore have been repossessed. million-transnational-money-laundering-scheme-095205647.html


Category: Singapore

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