Lawrence Yeo a loanshark only for Filipino maids

Lawrence Yeo. A convicted loanshark. So what he is the father of Nominated MP and former national swimmer Joscelin Yeo? What puzzles me is that how he opts to specialize in lending the money only to Filipino maids--300 of them, to be precise. And I can tell you the maids are swearing that they're such a kind loanshark. The interest rate is only 15% (no, I'm not going to tell you the market rate that the real merciless loansharks out there are charging!).

REVELATIONS that the father of Nominated MP and former national swimmer Joscelin Yeo had been convicted of loan shark activities have stunned the swimming community.

On Tuesday, Lawrence Yeo was jailed for two years and fined $150,000 after pleading guilty to running an illegal moneylending racket with four Filipino maids.

The 68-year-old began loan-sharking in June last year. Operating out of his flat in Bukit Batok, he used computers and a mobile phone to keep track of his borrowers and loans.

An estimated $10,000 was loaned out to borrowers - all Filipino maids. When told of the news, Singapore Swimming Association secretary-general Oon Jin Gee said he was shocked, describing Yeo as a supportive parent throughout Joscelin's swimming career.

'I always found him to be a fair and down-to-earth person,' said Mr Oon. 'My heart goes out to his family. They have gone through a lot.'

Yeo, a former assistant general manager with Maybank, often attended his daughter's swimming meets with his late wife Tan Lee Choo, who died from a brain tumour in 2009.

From Straits Times, "Shock over news that loan shark is Joscelin Yeo's dad".

A 68-year-old retiree who was sentenced to jail yesterday and fined $150,000 for running a loan shark racket was identified by Shin Min Daily News as the father of Singapore's retired swim queen, Joscelin Yeo, who is also currently a Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP).

The Straits Times reported yesterday that Lawrence Yeo was arrested in January and pleaded guilty to five of seven charges of illegal money lending.

He had forked out $80,000 to set up his illegal money-lending operation with one maid, 27-year-old Honey Irene Busto Pande. He and Pande charged 15 per cent on the loans, and illegally lent money to 300 people - all of them maids - between June 2010 and January 2011, with sums between $100 and $700.

He lent out an estimated $10,000 and made $12,000 in profit from the loans they gave out - which he split equally with Pande, according to Deputy Public Prosecutor Qiu Huixiang.

He later roped in three more maids, who were also his debtors, to be his runners. The three, Amparo Cacayuran Gayo, 36, Monalisa Carlos Siriban, 30 and Ma Consuelo Gonzales Deinla, 44, lent out money at an interest rate of 20 per cent, and made 5 per cent from the loans they issued.

Pande was sentenced to 18 months' jail and a fine of $150,000. The other three maids were sentenced to three to six months' imprisonment and given fines of up to $60,000 as they had played lesser parts in the operation.

A reporter from the Chinese evening daily visited the family's home in Bukit Batok. A domestic helper there confirmed that the house belonged to Yeo. But she stopped answering questions after further enquiries on whether she knew Joscelin Yeo.

Neighbours said that the family moved into the house about four to five years ago, but only Yeo, one of his sons and the maid remained in the house, after Joscelin got married last year, and his wife passed away in 2009. The family does not interact often with the neighbours.

Joscelin has two other brothers, older brother, Leonard, and younger brother, Gerard, who were also former national swimmers.

The Chinese daily did not manage to contact Joscelin Yeo for comments.

In 2001, Yeo also had a brush with the law. On Nov 19, 1999, he molested his former Indonesian maid at his home in Namly Drive when she was in the kitchen pouring him a glass of water. He was jailed for 10 months, but escaped caning because of his age.

From Asiaone, "Former swim queen's father jailed for loanshark activities".


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