Used car dealer gets four weeks' jail for forgery

Posed photo of a man in handcuffs. A used car dealer was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Thursday for forging a letter written by a customer to the Land Transport Authority (LTA). -- ST FILE PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
Posed photo of a man in handcuffs. A used car dealer was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Thursday for forging a letter written by a customer to the Land Transport Authority (LTA). -- ST FILE PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

A used car dealer was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Thursday for forging a letter written by a customer to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Jerry Tan Kim Huat, 52, of Car Central Automobile, admitted to forging the May 4, 2012 letter by Madam Esther Goh Soo Im, which falsely stated that a Porsche Boxster was wrongly transferred to her before the car loan was approved. He is appealing against the sentence.

The court heard that the two parties had a contractual dispute over the sale and purchase of a used Porsche Boxster. It was agreed that the purchase price of the Porsche which amounted to $110,000 plus fees, would be offset by the trading in of Madam Goh's Mercedes-Benz, leaving a balance of $60,000.

On April 22 last year, Tan transferred the ownership of the Porsche to Madam Goh. He had also obtained a hire-purchase loan from Century Tokyo Leasing for the balance purchase price. But the loan was switched to OCBC Bank which then rejected the application. A dispute arose on the payment of the balance purchase price.

Tan asserted that the deal was off and demanded the return of the Porsche. But Madam Goh refused. Subsequently, Tan returned the Mercedes-Benz by parking it at her son's condominium carpark, and asked for the Porsche to be returned. He has got his car back after taking legal action against Madam Goh.

The forgery offence came to light when an LTA officer checked with Madam Goh on May 24 last year over a handwritten letter, stating that the Porsche was wrongly transferred to her, and that she was requesting LTA's help to transfer the ownership back to Car Central.

Madam Goh told the officer she did not write the letter. As requested, she provided a signature specimen. It was confirmed that her specimen signature did not match the one on the letter. She made a police report.

Tan had three other similar charges considered during his sentencing.