Upset with his clients who allegedly disrespected him, an insurance agent signed off as Lord Voldermort (sic) when he sent threatening letters and emails to them.
Using the fictitious character’s name, which was a reference to key antagonist Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter novels, Ye Lin Myint demanded that the victims – mostly fellow Myanmar nationals – send him bitcoins. He threatened to escalate his harassment, including getting the victims fired from their jobs.
Ye, a 36-year-old Myanmar national and Singapore permanent resident, was jailed 29 months on Tuesday (29 January) on five counts of criminal intimidation by anonymous communication and eight counts of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress. Thirty counts of a similar nature were taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that Ye, who was working as an insurance agent with Prudential, had become disgruntled and angry with a number of clients. These clients had either cancelled insurance policies they previously bought from him, failed to turn up for scheduled appointments or had decided not to purchase policies from him.
Feeling that these clients had disrespected him, he sent threatening letters to their residential addresses.
In July 2017, Ye also created an email account under the IDs Voldermort (sic) and BruceBannerDr to send emails to these clients. He linked his email account to a Bitcoin wallet, enabling him to receive and transfer Bitcoin, which is a form of cryptocurrency.
In sending the anonymous messages, Ye wanted the victims to know that it was “not nice to do bad things to people who did not do anything to them”, according to Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh.
Between August and September 2017, Ye said in letters to victims that he was a single parent who needed financial help. He asked “nicely” for a “small donation” and stated that it was a “Stage 1 introduction”.
Ye threatened to escalate the harassment into “Stage 2 and 3 and 4” if the victims did not give him the donations. He claimed to know his victims’ personal details, including their workplace locations and children’s schools. But Ye had obtained the personal details while acting as their insurance agent.
He requested for 1 Bitcoin from each victim to be sent to his account and asked for a screenshot of the transaction as proof.
At the time, 1 Bitcoin was worth $6,597.92. None of the victims made the transfer, the court was told.
A few days after sending the emails and letters, Ye came across a news article about unlicensed moneylenders who harassed debtors for failing to pay back their debts. He learned that the loansharks would harass the neighbours of debtors to pressure the latter.
Ye decided to further harass his victims by randomly sending threatening letters to the neighbours. The letters prompted the Singapore Police Force and Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah to issue advisories about the matter.
Ye was arrested after police statements pointed to a link between him and the victims. His DNA also matched the saliva found on the postage stamps of the letters that he sent to the victims.
Describing the case as “one of the worst cases of harassment” under the Protection from Harassment Act, DPP Thiagesh urged the court to jail Ye for 39 months. He argued that Ye had planned to commit the offences with the aim of evading apprehension.
Ye’s lawyer said that her client did not commit the offences out of maliciousness, adding that some clients had badmouthed him within the Myanmarese community.
At the time of offences, Ye was suffering from depression but he was only diagnosed with major depressive disorder on 8 February last year.
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