A 49-year-old man will be charged in court on 22 January 2024 for his suspected involvement in unlicensed moneylending and money laundering activities.
Sometime between September and October 2020, the Police received at least 12 reports alleging one business entity “Xpress Leasing” to be issuing loans illegally under the pretext of buying and leasing preowned mobile phones and sending debt collectors to confront debtors who were falling behind in their loan repayments. Police investigations revealed that between June and October 2020, the man, who was the sole proprietor of “Xpress Leasing”, had allegedly carried on a moneylending business in Singapore without licence by issuing illegal loans at the premises of his company.
During the course of investigations, five bank accounts connected to the man’s criminal activities were frozen and more than $700,000 were seized.
The man, who was previously convicted for unlicensed moneylending offences, will be charged in court with one count of carrying on a moneylending business without licence, contravening Section 5(1) of the Moneylenders Act Chapter 188 (Revised Edition, 2010) and be liable for enhanced punishment under the same Act, and three counts of acquiring property which represents the benefits from criminal conduct under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, Chapter 65A.
Under the Moneylenders’ Act Chapter 188 (Revised Edition, 2010), first-time offenders found to have contravened Section 5(1) shall be punished with imprisonment term of up to four years, a fine of not less than $30,000 and not more than $300,000, and caning of not more than six strokes. Second time offenders shall be punished with imprisonment term of up to seven years, a fine of not less than $30,000 and not more than $300,000, and caning of not more than 12 strokes.
Under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, anyone found guilty of acquiring properties which represent the person’s benefits from criminal conduct shall be punished with imprisonment term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $500,000.
The Police will continue to take tough enforcement actions against those involved in unlicensed moneylending and money laundering activities, and ensure that perpetrators are dealt with sternly in accordance with the law.
Members of the public are advised to stay away from unlicensed moneylenders and not work with or assist unlicensed moneylenders in any way. The public can call the Police at ‘999’ or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in unlicensed moneylending activities.