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M'sians lost over $5m to white-collar crimes last year
Publication Date : 17-02-2014
A whopping 1.775 billion ringgit (US$536 million) was lost through scams, embezzlement, criminal breach of trust and other white collar crimes last year.
The amount, which almost equals the state budget of Selangor, reflects the low level of awareness about such crimes among Malaysians.
According to Bukit Aman’s Commercial Crimes Investigation Department’s (CCID) senior deputy investigation director Assistant Commissioner Najmi Mustaffa, cheating scams and CBT made up most of the cases while the others were misappropriation of funds, cyber crimes, fraud, counterfeit money, illegal money lending, money laundering and sale of illegal VCDs and DVDs.
“Although a total of 16,661 cases were recorded last year, a 9.4% drop against the 18,386 in 2012, the amount involved surged by more than 155.95 million ringgit,” he told mStar.
The highest losses due to white collar crimes were recorded in Kuala Lumpur with 2,279 cases involving 943 million ringgit, followed by 3,248 cases in Selangor (281 million ringgit) and 1,294 cases in Perak (108 million ringgit).
Najmi said in most of the CBT cases, the culprits were usually those responsible for looking after shares, assets or providing approval for cash transactions.
On cheating cases, ACP Najmi said the two major contributors were the African Scam whose perpetrators use the Internet to find victims and the Macau Scam in which the crooks usually use phone calls to snare victims.
“The first is mainly led by Africans who enter the country on the pretext of pursuing higher education but use the social media to look for victims here,” he said.
“In the Macau Scam, the cheats would make phone calls claiming to be officers from Bank Negara Malaysia (Malaysia's central bank) or policemen from CCID to transfer money from the victims’ account to theirs.
Najmi urged the public to be more cautious and suspicious in cash and investment transactions.
“Victims often put their trust in the suspects and do not bother to double check or make any referrals before making transactions. With today’s technology, cheating can occur easily because supposed proofs, including documents, could be falsified,” he said.
He said the CCID expected a bigger challenge in addressing white collar crimes this year and hoped that the trend would not cause adverse impacts on foreign investment and the country’s economy.
“CBT cases in corporate companies can have serious implications on foreign investor trust,” he added.
He said among the cases which contributed to the loss of more than 1 billion ringgit last year was one involving a foreign bank.
Najmi said misappropriation of funds caused the bank to incur a loss amounting to 220 million ringgit.
An approved loan for the amount was not in accordance with Bank Negara regulations.
“After a police report was lodged, we investigated the case. I can’t reveal more because it is still being investigated,” he said.
*US$1 = 3.30 ringgit