75-year-old woman in S’pore opens bank account & receives S$259k on behalf of ‘online boyfriend’, pleads guilty to cheating

75-year-old woman cheats ICBC by claiming she was sole operator of bank account

After meeting her “online boyfriend” via WhatsApp, 75-year-old Kang Pue Hua opened a bank account with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on his behalf.

The account later received nearly S$260,000 from suspicious sources.

On Wednesday (29 May), Ms Kang pleaded guilty to cheating ICBC into believing she was the sole individual operating the account. She also pleaded guilty to a second charge of lying to a police officer by claiming she lost her ATM card.

Woman opens bank account on behalf of “online boyfriend”

According to The Straits Times (ST), Ms Kang became acquainted with an individual named “John Lee Marina” sometime before Dec 2021.

John, whose real identity remains unknown, claimed to be a Singaporean who lived in the US for many years before returning to Singapore.

The mysterious “boyfriend” later asked Ms Kang to open a bank account on his behalf. The 75-year-old agreed to the request and did so at an ICBC branch in Ang Mo Kio on 24 Dec 2021.

Source: Google Maps

In the application form, Kang stated she would possess sole control of the account.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ng Jun Kai pointed out that this was despite her knowing the information to be false. He added:

The accused’s intention was to intentionally induce ICBC into opening a bank account for her.

“She would then allow John to control [it],” DPP Ng said.

After opening the account, Kang made arrangements such that John would receive an ATM card linked to it through mail.

Ms Kang then conveyed the corresponding PIN for the card to John via WhatsApp.

Account used for “suspicious” transactions

Unknown third parties proceeded to use the account to carry out transactions, which took place from 27 Dec 2021 to 25 Feb 2022.

This included inward transfers amounting to almost S$260,000, which authorities deemed “suspicious”.

Source: Docomomo

On 3 Jan 2022, an individual named Ms Goh filed a police report, explaining that she transferred S$10,300 to Kang’s OCBC account. She claimed she was acting on instruction by a man named “Kelvin Lin.”

Slightly over two months later in March 2022, Kang lied to officers at Bishan Neighbourhood Police Centre, claiming she had lost her OCBC ATM card. In actual fact, she had sent the card to John.

DPP Ng said, “She had discussed… with John prior to 16 March 2022, and decided to put forward a false story in order to conceal the fact that she had… given him the ATM card and PIN.”

Ms Kang’s mitigation and sentencing is scheduled for July.

Also read: Man in S’pore allegedly pawns fake gold ring, gets arrested for cheating

Man in S’pore allegedly pawns fake gold ring, gets arrested for cheating

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Featured image adapted from Google Maps and MS News.

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