Singapore woman jailed for helping Nigerian launder scam money; even had child with him

She continued helping Malaysia-based man with her bank accounts, even after finding out about his crimes

Silhouette of mother and daughter (left) and stacks of money notes (Photos: Getty Images)
Silhouette of mother and daughter (left) and stacks of money notes (Photos: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE - A 32-year-old Singaporean woman was sentenced to 15 months' jail on Tuesday (21 February) after she pleaded guilty to two counts of helping to retain benefits from criminal conduct.

According to CNA, Suhaili Suparjo was charmed by a Malaysia-based Nigerian man, who used her bank account for illegal transactions.

Even after finding out about the man's crimes, she continued to help him with an account from another bank. She acted as his money mule and laundered more than S$356,000 in criminal proceeds for him.

Suparjo even had a child with the Nigerian, who convinced her to keep the baby upon her discovery that she was pregnant.

Met via Facebook, charmed into befriending him

Suparjo first met Awolola Oladayo Opeyemi via Facebook in late 2016. Charmed by interest from a man of a different nationality and a seemingly legit social media account, she agreed to befriend him.

Over time, she grew closer to Opeyemi through constant texting, phone and video calls and was later introduced to his friends as his girlfriend.

CNA reported that around February or March 2017, Suparjo discovered that she was pregnant and was convinced to keep the baby by Opeyemi, who even claimed he would convert to Islam for her.

It was then that Opeyemi began asking to use Suparjo's bank account to transfer and withdraw money for a supposed overseas friend.

Claiming to be a college student in Kuala Lumpur, Opeyemi persuaded her to act as his money mule, receiving cash in person and through her bank accounts.

According to CNA, Suparjo's POSB account was later frozen for illegal transactions. However, she followed Opeyemi's instructions and gave cover-up stories to the Singapore Police Force during investigations. Even after she found out about Opeyemi's crimes, she continued to help him using a OCBC account instead.

Suparjo would withdraw money from the account from time to time and travel to Malaysia to pass the cash to him. Between June and August 2017, the account received a total of S$255,935 from four scam victims in Singapore, Canada and Macau.

Birth of child and subsequent arrest

In September 2017, Suparjo went into labour, fainted at Customs and gave birth to a slightly premature daughter, reported CNA.

Opeyemi was an absent father and did not assist Suparjo financially in raising the child. Despite helping him, Suparjo did not gain a dime from his laundering crimes.

Opeyemi and another scammer, Awolola Gbolahan Ayobami, were arrested in Malaysia in 2019 and later handed over to Singapore. It was the first time that love scam suspects based overseas were arrested and brought to Singapore for prosecution.

Opeyemi was sentenced to 60 months' jail in December 2021.

According to CNA, the judge allowed Suparjo to defer her jail term to March this year.

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