10 INDIVIDUALS CHARGED FOR INVOLVEMENT IN HOUSING LOAN CASHBACK SCAM
The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) will charge 10 individuals for their alleged involvement in four cases of housing loan cashback scam involving a total loan amount of SGD 11,398,000. The 10 individuals include facilitators of the scam, property sellers, nominee buyers, property agents and a conveyancing lawyer.
Investigations revealed that the housing loan cashback scam which took place in 2014 and 2015, involved the artificial inflation of sale prices to maximise bank borrowings to reap cashback. The facilitators initially arranged with the sellers and sellers’ property agents to purchase their property at a pre-agreed price. However, the inflated price was used to apply for bank loans. Upon completion of the sale, the sellers would return to the facilitators any money they received in excess of the pre-agreed price. The facilitators also recruited nominee buyers and submitted forged income documents to the banks to get the loans. The scam was uncovered when the nominee buyers defaulted on the loans.
As a result of the forged income documents, a bank was deceived into disbursing loans amounting to $8,518,000 for three out of the four mortgage applications. The three properties were subsequently sold by the bank at a total loss of over $2,900,000.
On 3 December 2019, the three facilitators will be charged in court with cheating and forgery offences, under Section 420 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224, and Section 471 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code respectively. One of the facilitators faces seven other charges relating to criminal breach of trust under Section 408 of the Penal Code, cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code, and using a stamp certificate as a genuine stamp certificate, knowing it to be a counterfeit, under Section 64(g) of the Stamp Duties Act, Chapter 312.
The two nominee buyers will each be charged with one count of cheating, under Section 420 of the Penal Code. The two property sellers will each be charged with one count of fraudulently executing a deed of transfer, under Section 423 of the Penal Code. The two sellers’ property agents will each be charged with one count of conspiring with the sellers to fraudulently execute the deed of transfer, under Section 423 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code. Lastly, the conveyancing lawyer will also be charged with falsely certifying the correctness of an instrument, under Section 59(6) of the Land Titles Act, Chapter 157.
Under Section 420 of the Penal Code, any person who cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver any property to any person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Under Section 471 of the Penal Code, any person who dishonestly uses as genuine any document which he knows to be a forged document, shall be punished in the same manner as if he had forged such document, which is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 4 years, or with fine, or with both.
Under Section 423 of the Penal Code, any person who fraudulently executes any deed which purports to transfer, and which contains any false statement relating to the consideration for such transfer, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years, or with fine, or with both.
Under Section 408 of the Penal Code, any person who, being a servant, and being in any manner entrusted in such capacity with property, commits criminal breach of trust in respect of that property, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 15 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Under Section 59(6) of the Land Titles Act, any person who falsely certifies to the correctness of any instrument shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $25,000 and such penalty shall not prevent a person who may have sustained any damage or loss in consequence of errors or mistakes in any such certified instrument from recovering damages against the person who has certified the same.
Under Section 64(g) of the Stamp Duties Act, any person who uses as a genuine stamp certificate, knowing it to be a counterfeit, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.
Source: Singapore Police Force