Arrest warrant issued against man who tried to dupe bank of $2.88m mortgage loan

Saiful Azri Ali Amat also pleaded guilty to two drug-related charges. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A warrant of arrest has been issued against a man linked to a housing loan scam after he failed to turn up in a district court for his mitigation and sentencing on Tuesday (Oct 12).

Last month, odd job worker Saiful Azri Ali Amat, now 36, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted cheating after he tried to dupe DBS Bank into approving and delivering a mortgage loan of $2.88 million in February 2015.

The Singaporean had also pleaded guilty to two drug-related charges - one count each of methamphetamine possession and consumption.

At least two offenders linked to the housing loan scam were dealt with in court earlier.

Last year, former property agent Zulkarnain Lim Zulkefli, then 33, was given two weeks' jail after admitting that he had engaged in a conspiracy with home owner Lau Ai Geck to fraudulently execute a Land Titles Act transfer form containing a false statement in 2015.

The form stated the sale price of Lau's Limbok Terrace house near Yio Chu Kang Road was $3.6 million, when the agreed sale price was, in fact, $2.6 million.

Lau, who was 63 when she was charged in 2019, was fined $16,000 after admitting to her role in the ruse.

The cases involving two alleged offenders, Bijabahadur Rai Shree Kantrai, 51, and Sufandi Ahmad, 41, are still pending.

Saiful was out on bail of $30,000 when he failed to turn up in court on Tuesday morning.

His fiancee, who was his bailor, was seen weeping in the gallery after she tried in vain to contact him on his mobile phone.

Defence lawyer Cheryl Ng later told District Judge Ronald Gwee that she had also tried to contact Saiful multiple times but failed.

The judge then issued a warrant of arrest against him.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Chan said this was not the first time Saiful had absconded before a court hearing.

In late 2012, he was charged with drug offences and later absconded. He was finally arrested and taken back to court on Aug 20, 2015.

For the housing loan scam case, DPP Chan said Bijabahadur had proposed to Sufandi a "cashback scheme" linked to the sale of private landed properties.

An unnamed acquaintance later introduced Sufandi to Saiful who agreed to be listed as the buyer of the Limbok Terrace house.

Saiful accepted Sufandi's proposal despite knowing he did not have the financial means to purchase or finance the property.

He was also on the run from the authorities at the time.

When Sufandi contacted Zulkarnain, expressing interest in the house, Zulkarnain started negotiations and Lau agreed to sell it for $2.6million.

The DPP said: "Lau subsequently agreed to state an inflated sale price of $3.6 million on the conveyancing documents.

"Sufandi, Zulkarnain and Lau all knew that the purpose of stating an inflated sale price on the conveyancing documents was to enable Saiful... to obtain a larger loan from a bank."

According to court documents, Sufandi later obtained forged documents including one purportedly from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, falsely stating that Saiful had an annual income of $458,000 in 2013.

These documents were then sent to DBS Bank to try to obtain a mortgage loan of $2.88 million.

The bank later discovered that Saiful's income documents were forged and cancelled the application before any loans were disbursed.

The Commercial Affairs Department was alerted in March 2015.

Separately, Saiful was caught for drug-related offences in October last year.

A review on matters involving his warrant of arrest will take place next month.

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