American pleads guilty to money laundering offences in Singapore

(PHOTO: Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

An American man pleaded guilty in the State Courts on Monday (9 April) to money laundering offences in a case involving a fake investment scheme that originated in the US.

David John Plate, 53, pleaded guilty to one charge of abetting another in receiving stolen property, and another charge of abetting another person to transfer the benefits of criminal conduct. Four other similar charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing.

Yahoo News Singapore understands that this is the first case of its kind in which the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) has arrested the actual scammer behind a scheme involving money-laundering offences.

According to court papers, Plate claimed he was the director or chief executive officer of Singapore-registered company Aglobal Management Pte Ltd. However, records from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority show that the sole director of Aglobal was Plate’s accomplice, Sandrasegaran Vasimuthu.

Sandrasegaran was a figurehead director who would follow Plate’s instructions regarding the receipt and remittance of money to and from the company’s bank account.

The victim was Lamar Mary Holladay, an American country music singer-songwriter who was deceived by Plate in July 2014 into believing that she was investing US$600,000 into a company called Globomass Limited and that she would receive a 30 per cent return.

Holloday’s money was not recovered and she was left on the verge of going bankrupt. As part of the sum had been transferred to a Singapore bank account, she made a trip to Singapore from the UK and lodged a report with local police on 6 June 2015.

Plate entered Singapore on a social visit pass on 23 February 2017 and was called up for investigations by the CAD. It is unclear why Plate had come to Singapore.

CAD investigations revealed that the sum was not transferred to Globomass, and that the company received only US$50,000 of the victim’s money.

Instead, Holladay had been duped into transferring the sum to another company’s bank account. Plate then instructed another person to receive the US$600,000 transfer and transfer US$45,000 into Aglobal’s account.

Between 25 July and 7 August 2014, Plate instructed his accomplice to transfer the US$45,000 from Aglobal’s bank account to seven different entities, including his own bank account.

No restitutions have been made in the case so far and the prosecution told the court it intends to seek a total jail term of 12 months for Plate.

District Judge John Ng will hear Plate’s mitigation plea and pass down sentencing on 23 April.

Dishonestly receiving stolen property carries a maximum jail term of five years, a fine, or both. Abetting in transferring the benefits of criminal conduct carries a fine of up to $500,000 or a maximum jail term of seven years, or both.

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