Singapore — A 61-year-old Singaporean was sentenced on Wednesday (Nov 25) for running an illegal moneylending business with 19 foreign domestic workers as clients.
Tan Boon Teck pleaded guilty to eight charges involving S$3,900 of illegal loans under the Moneylenders Act. Another 10 charges were taken into consideration.
He was sentenced to two years and six weeks in jail and a fine of S$240,000. If he does not pay the fine, he will be jailed for another 16 weeks.
Tan, along with his Filipina maid girlfriend, charged an interest rate of 20 per cent per month and later changed the terms of his loan so that repayments of the loan and interest were made by monthly instalments and subject to a late payment fee.
It is estimated that he earned about S$1,000 to S$1,500 a month.
He would meet the borrowers in person on Sundays in Orchard Road, at malls like Lucky Plaza, Takashimaya and ION Orchard, and loan amounts between S$300 and S$500, according to a Channel NewsAsia report.
His girlfriend, Shirley Cansino Eustaquio, helped to hand over the loan amounts and collect repayments. She was sentenced to eight weeks in jail and a S$60,000 fine last year and repatriated to the Philippines.
Tan did not have a moneylending licence and knew it was illegal, but operated his business for nearly two years between July 2017 and May 2019.
He was arrested on May 12 last year after a raid was conducted at his Bedok flat. Police seized S$580 in cash, a phone and a stack of papers containing records of debtors.
Tan’s debtors were mostly maids who needed money for their families. One woman had to help pay for her granddaughter’s medical expenses and borrowed S$500 from Tan. She ended up paying him S$1,500 in total.
Another maid took up four loans from Tan totalling S$1,900 as she supported five people on a monthly salary of S$700.
For each charge of carrying on an illegal moneylending business, Tan could have been jailed for up to four years and fined between S$30,000 and S$300,000. /TISG