Ex-property agent jailed 12 months for forgery and criminal breach of trust of $37,800

SINGAPORE - A former property agent was jailed for 12 months on Tuesday for forgery and criminal breach of trust of $37,800.

Fong Wai Loon, 37, had admitted to forging the signature of businessman Rocky Bastiaan on a 2009 letter, directing the tenant of Mr Bastiaan to pay the rent owed to the businessman to Fong's bank account instead.

Fong misappropriated the rental proceeds amounting to $37,800 collected from the tenant, international law firm Messrs Ince & Co, on behalf of Mr Bastiaan betwen April 30 and Oct 1 that year.

A district court heard that Mr Bastiaan, 48, asked Fong to rent out his apartment in Scotts Road in 2009.

Fong agreed and managed to rent it out to Ince at $6,300 a month. He was to collect the cheque from the firm and deposit it into the victim's Singapore Citibank account.

He later experienced financial difficulties and decided to draft a letter directing the firm to set up the GIRO payment arrangement to pay the monthly rental fee for the unit directly into his United Overseas Bank account.

He forged the victim's signature on the letter, and deceived Ince into making six payments of $6,300 each to his bank account. The total sum was $37,800.

After the forgery was discovered in 2010, Ince stopped making payments to Fong.

Fong would withdraw a few dollars to around $1,500 for his personal expenses. The amount was fully expended by Oct 31 that year.

The court heard that Fong is making arrangements to pay back the victim.

The maximum penalty for forgery is 10 years' jail and a fine. For criminal breach of trust, Fong could have been jailed for up to seven years and/or fined.