SINGAPORE — A lawyer who allegedly went missing along with $33.2 million in an escrow account held by his law firm on behalf of a client now faces another eight cheating-related charges.
At the State Courts on Thursday (13 June), Jeffrey Ong Su Aun, 41, the managing partner of JLC Advisors, was accused of forging eight documents in order to cheat CCJ Investments into disbursing $6 million.
Ong allegedly signed on various documents under the names of James Tan Kwang Yong and Joel Tan Guang Qian on 18 and 19 February. James Tan is the director and sole shareholder of Suite Development while Joel Tan is its company secretary.
These documents include a Deed of Charge over Shares, a Deed of Guarantee, a Mortgage (relating to three shophouses in Tanjong Katong Road), a Director’s Resolution, a Shareholder’s Resolution, an Instrument of Transfer as well as a letter from James Tan to Joel Tan.
Ong, who appeared in court via video-link, did not enter a plea to the charges.
The case will be mentioned in court again next Thursday (20 June). Ong will continue to be remanded to assist in police investigations.
On June 1, Ong was first charged with one count of cheating, by deceiving CCJ Investments into believing that Suite Development had entered into a loan agreement with it.
As a result of the alleged deception, CCJ Investments then disbursed $6 million, of which about $3.3 million was used to refinance Suite Development’s mortgage loan and about $2.7 million was deposited into JLC’s client’s account.
According to media reports late last month, Ong had disappeared along with $33.2 million that belonged to a JLC client, Allied Technologies.
The funds had been held in escrow by JLC under an agreement made in 2017.
The incident prompted The Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) to take control over all monies held by JLC on behalf its clients and third parties on 24 May.
The Royal Malaysia Police subsequently arrested Ong, who was brought back to Singapore on 30 May. The Singapore Police Force said it had sought the help of its Malaysian counterpart following a report lodged on 21 May. Ong had fled the country before investigations began, the police said.
In a joint media statement with the Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) on 24 May, LawSoc said it will inquire into all the facts and circumstances surrounding the operation of JLC’s client accounts, and the role played by Ong.
The probe is expected to decide whether Ong will be given any disciplinary action.
SGX RegCo has directed Allied Technologies to expand the scope of its upcoming Special Audit to include developments surrounding the $33 million held with JLC, and the progress of its attempt to procure the funds back. The special auditor will report solely to SGX RegCo.
The maximum penalty for cheating is up to 10 years’ jail along with a fine. The maximum punishment for committing forgery for the purpose of cheating is the same.
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