SINGAPORE - A property agent who had been on the run for two years after cheating two women of $320,000 in cash and property was jailed for 38 months on Thursday (jul 9).
Lau Wing Kuan, 40, had pleaded guilty to cheating Chinese national Wang Chunling, 60, by making her believe that a South Bridge Road property was up for sale and inducing her to give him a cheque for $90,000.
He also admitted to misappropriating a $230,000 Mercedes-Benz car belonging to another client, Ms Huang Luyang, 27, a Singapore permanent resident, and forging her signature on a $270,000 cheque.
Some time in July 2012, Madam Wang issued Lau a cheque for $40,000, being the 1 per cent option money, to buy a property.
A few days later, he persuaded her to forfeit the option money of $40,000 for the first property and to buy a shophouse at South Bridge Road instead when he knew it was not for sale.
On July 12 that year, Madam Wang agreed and issued another cheque for $90,000, being 2 per cent option money, and gave it to Lau. She signed on the cheque and allowed Lau to fill in the remaining details.
The cheque was made out to Ms Huang.
Separately, some time in June that year, Ms Huang entrusted her Mercedes-Benz car to Lau before leaving to China for work. Lau was supposed to send the car for servicing and return the car keys to her friend after that.
When Ms Huang returned to Singapore a few months later, she found out that the car had been sold and was no longer registered under her name. She made a police report after failing to contact Lau.
Investigation showed Lau had sold the car to a second-hand dealer for $180,000.
He had opened a bank account in Ms Huang's name by forging the application form. He then banked in the sale proceeds from the car as well as the $90,000 cheque from Madam Wang.
He later forged Ms Huang's signature on a cheque for $270,000, issued it to himself and encashed the cheque.
He used $83,000 to pay off personal debts before fleeing to Malaysia with the remainder of the money.
He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for cheating, and jailed for up to seven years and fined for criminal breach of trust.