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Five weeks’ jail for ex-property agent who forged stamp certificate

SINGAPORE — A former property agent has been jailed for five weeks for using a counterfeit stamp certificate in a property rental transaction and for collecting goods and services tax when he was not authorised to do so.

Reuters file photo

Reuters file photo

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SINGAPORE — A former property agent has been jailed for five weeks for using a counterfeit stamp certificate in a property rental transaction and for collecting goods and services tax when he was not authorised to do so. 

Cheong Sai Chong, 38, was also ordered to pay a total fine of S$2,145, said the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) today (Nov 30).

Cheong was a property agent with Dennis Wee Group from Jan 10, 2010 to June 30, 2012. His real estate licence expired on July 1, 2012, but he continued to act on behalf of tenants and landlords for the rental of two properties. 

In September 2013, IRAS, while reviewing the compliance rate of stamp duty for tenancy agreements, had found that tenancy agreements for certain properties had not been stamped, and stamp duty had not been collected. Stamp duty is payable by a tenant on the lease or agreement when leasing property.

When the authority made queries, one of the tenants handled by Cheong provided a stamp certificate to prove that stamp duty had been paid. But the stamp certificate was discovered to be a counterfeit, which Cheong later admitted he had created.

Cheong was also found to have charged an additional amount of S$315 for GST on his agent’s commission, even though he was not authorised to collect GST. To do so, he created a fake invoice from Dennis Wee Realty. 

For forging a stamp certificate and misrepresenting these certificates, Cheong could have been fined up to S$10,000, or jailed up to three years, or both. He could also have been ordered to pay a penalty of up to four times the payable stamp duty, for late or non-stamping of documents.

Businesses that are not GST-registered but charge and collect GST from their customers may face a penalty of three times the amount of tax unlawfully collected, and a fine of up to S$10,000 for each offence.

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