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Lawyer, property agents among 10 charged with involvement in S$11.4 million housing loan cashback scams

SINGAPORE — Ten people, including a conveyancing lawyer and two property agents, were hauled to court on Tuesday (Dec 3) and charged with participating in four housing loan cashback scams involving more than S$11 million.

(From left) Kok Chiew Leong, Mohammed Lutfi Hussin and Sufandi Ahmad were in court on Dec 3, 2019, to face charges for their alleged involvement in housing loan cashback scams.

(From left) Kok Chiew Leong, Mohammed Lutfi Hussin and Sufandi Ahmad were in court on Dec 3, 2019, to face charges for their alleged involvement in housing loan cashback scams.

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SINGAPORE — Ten people, including a conveyancing lawyer and two property agents, were hauled to court on Tuesday (Dec 3) and charged with participating in four housing loan cashback scams involving more than S$11 million.

The alleged scams involved four landed houses in Serangoon and the northern region of Singapore such as Woodlands.

The scams took place in 2014 and 2015, and the sale prices of properties were alleged to have been artificially inflated in order to maximise bank borrowings to “reap cashback”, the police said in a press release on Monday.

HOW IT WORKED

The police said that the facilitators would arrange with the sellers and their respective property agents to buy their property at a pre-agreed price.

However, when applying for bank loans, an inflated price was used instead.

Upon the completion of the property sale, the sellers would then return to the facilitators any money they had received in excess of the pre-agreed price.

The facilitators would also recruit “nominee buyers” and submit forged income documents to the banks to get loans.

The scam was uncovered when the nominee buyers defaulted on the loans, the police added.

As a result of the forged income documents, a bank was deceived into disbursing loans amounting to S$8.5 million for three of the four mortgage applications.

The three properties were later sold by the bank at a total loss of more than S$2.9 million, the police said.

THE 10 ALLEGED CULPRITS

Mohammed Lutfi Hussin, 53

On April 22 in 2014, the conveyancing lawyer is said to have falsely certified the accuracy of a mortgage for a Saraca Terrace property, located in Yio Chu Kang, by stating that he was a witness to the execution of the mortgage.

Bijabahadur Rai Shree Kantrai, 49

He was charged with four counts of cheating and 10 counts of using a forged document.

Court documents showed, for example, that he allegedly conspired with Sufandi Ahmad and Kok Chiew Leong to submit a fake notice of assessment from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) in a property buyer’s name for the Saraca Terrace property in 2014.

This purportedly induced Maybank to approve and deliver a mortgage loan of S$2.3 million to the buyer.

Sufandi Ahmad, 39

He faces 14 charges in total, including four counts of cheating, five counts of using a forged document, and two counts of criminal breach of trust.

Court documents showed that he was a conveyancing clerk at law firm Raj Prasanna & Partners between February 2010 and May 2012.

During that period, he allegedly pocketed 10 clients’ cheques amounting to about S$250,000.

He was also charged with conspiring to cheat Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC on three occasions, by submitting forged instalment loan applications to trick them into believing the buyers earned a certain annual income.

Kok Chiew Leong, 46

He was charged with cheating, using a forged document and housebreaking by night.

In one instance, he allegedly conspired with Bijabahadur in May 2014 to submit a forged Iras notice of assessment to Maybank. 

This was purportedly part of an application by the borrower to borrow more than S$3 million to buy a property on Jalan Kerayong in Sembawang.

Separately, along with two other men, he is accused of breaking into a building in June last year to steal two electric scooters.

Mohamed Haron Hassan, 38, and Juma’at Johari, 39

Both property agents are accused of conspiring to sign a Land Titles Act transfer form in October 2014 that contained a false statement, relating to the sale price of a property at Woodgrove Walk in Woodlands.

Mohamad Hamzi Rabu, 49

He was charged with fraudulently executing a deed of transfer for the Woodgrove Walk property as its seller.

Lau Ai Geck, 63

In February 2015, she allegedly tried to fraudulently execute a deed of transfer for a Limbok Terrace property in Yio Chu Kang as its seller.

She is also accused of giving false information to a police officer from the Commercial Affairs Department in December 2015, regarding the sale price of the house.

She allegedly stated that she agreed to sell the house at S$3.6 million and that it was not an inflated price, and that she told her lawyers to pay part of the sales proceeds to Madurai Meenakshi Pte Ltd as part of a loan. It is not known if, or how, the company is linked to any of the alleged culprits.

Iswandi Yahya, 37

As a nominee buyer, he allegedly got Maybank to approve and give him a home loan of S$2.84 million in August 2014, by saying that he intended to comply with the conditions in a letter of offer for the Woodgrove Walk property.

Saiful Azri Amat, 34

As a nominee buyer, he allegedly tried to cheat DBS bank into believing that he intended to comply with the conditions in a letter of offer dated Feb 2, 2015, in order to get a mortgage loan of S$2.88 million for the Limbok Terrace property. 

Related topics

court crime scam property cashback housing bank loan lawyer

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