Lawyer and 9 men charged for $11m housing loan cashback scam

Wan Ting Koh
Photo from Getty Images

SINGAPORE - Ten men, including one conveyancing lawyer, were charged for their alleged roles in four cases of housing loan cashback scam involving more than $11 million. 

Police said that the alleged scam, which occurred over 2014 and 2015, involved the artificial inflation of house prices to maximise bank borrowings to reap cashback. 

The accused are facilitators Bijabahadur Rai Shree Kantrai, 49, Sufandi Ahmad, 39, and Kok Chiew Leong, 46; nominee buyers Iswandi Yahya, 37, and Saiful Azri Ali Amat, 34; sellers Mohamad Hamzi Rabu, 49, and Lau Ai Geck, 63; sellers' property agents Mohamed Haron Hassan, 38, and Juma'at Johari, 39; and conveyancing lawyer Mohammed Lutfi Hussin, 53. 

Bijabahadur, Sufandi and Kok face cheating and forgery charges, with Sufandi facing seven additional charges for criminal breach of trust and and using a counterfeit stamp certificate as genuine, a breach of the Stamp Duties Act.

The two nominee buyers, Iswandi and Saiful, were each charged with one count of cheating, while property sellers Hamzi and Lau were each charged with one count of fraudulently executing a deed of transfer.

Haron and Juma’at face one count each of conspiring with the sellers to fraudulently execute the deed of transfer. Lutfi was slapped with one charge of falsely certifying the correctness of an instrument, a contravention of the Land Titles Act. 

The facilitators arranged with the sellers and sellers’ property agents to buy their property at a pre-agreed price. 

However, an inflated price was used to apply for bank loans. After the sale, the sellers would return 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 revealed 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. 

The total amount involved in the scam amounted to $11,398,000. 

All 10 accused will return to court in January. 

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