SHAH ALAM (March 16): Two United Kingdom men were sentenced to six months in prison by the Sessions Court, here today after pleading guilty to charges of involvement in an international online investment fraud syndicate.
Judge Rozilah Salleh also fined Andrew Mark Peters, 55, RM180,000 or 22 months in prison and Darren Anthony Mcnicholas, 51, was fined RM140,000 or 16 months in jail.
Andrew was charged with two counts of being the mastermind of an international fraud syndicate who instructed Darren under the pseudonyms ‘David Henshaw’ and ‘Henry Paxton’ to deceive a Scottish citizen with guaranteed high profits from a short-term investment by purchasing shares in two non-existent companies.
The charges were framed under Section 109 of the Penal Code read with Section 417 of the same code which provides for imprisonment of up to five years or a fine or both.
Darren also faced two charges of cheating the same individual in relation to a similar offence under Section 417.
The actions of the two accused prompted the victim to hand over US$ 5,672.41 and EURO 121,200 into two bank accounts belonging to a company which the victim would not have done if he had not been deceived.
They allegedly committed the act in a unit of a building in Petaling Jaya, from May 21 to June 27, 2019.
Earlier, lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali who represented the two accused asked for a minimum sentence on the grounds that they were first offenders and had no previous record in their country of origin and Malaysia and provided good cooperation throughout the investigation.
“Andrew has health issues and needs medical care for his bowels. He also has difficulties moving around and needs assistance with a wheelchair. For Darren, he has a wife who is Malaysian and a child. The sentence will affect his Malaysian family.
“The admission of guilt by them saves cost and time for the court and the prosecution, besides they express regrets and apologise for the offences,” he said.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Fadhly Mohd Zamry asked for a sentence commensurate with the crime of two accused taking into account the public interest over their own interests.
He said a sentence that is too low would send a message to Malaysians that the court did not take the offence seriously.
“We have to take into account the frequency and the proliferation of fraud cases not only in Malaysia but all over the world. According to the facts of the case, the international fraud syndicate was based in Malaysia since 2015. There should be appropriate punishment so that the accused does not repeat the offence,” he said.
The prosecution was also handled by MACC deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib.
Previously, five British nationals and two Filipino nationals were among the 10 individuals arrested by MACC in raids in Kuala Lumpur and Penang on February 21 related to an international investment fraud syndicate that also involved money laundering and corrupt practices.
They were arrested in an operation called “Op Tropicana” led by MACC’s Anti-Money Laundering Division, which raided 24 locations around Kuala Lumpur and Penang including three syndicate call centres, two located in Kuala Lumpur and one in Penang. – Bernama