2 men linked to mortgage cashback fraud sentenced to jail

Iswandi Yahya, 38, will be spending two years behind bars for cheating.
Iswandi Yahya, 38, will be spending two years behind bars for cheating.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Two men were sentenced to jail on Tuesday (Dec 8) over their roles in a cashback scam involving mortgage fraud linked to two different properties.

Iswandi Yahya, 38, will be spending two years behind bars for cheating.

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

The form stated that 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 was earlier fined $16,000 after admitting to her role in the ruse.

Prosecutors said that Iswandi and Zulkarnain had worked with the same man - Sufandi Ahmad, 40 - whose case is still pending.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Chan said that Sufandi contacted Zulkarnain some time in September 2014 to inquire about buying landed properties.

Sufandi later expressed an interest to buy the Limbok Terrace house.

He told Zulkarnain of the manner in which he intended to buy the house, saying that after a sale price has been agreed with the seller, Sufandi intended to state an inflated sale price on the option to purchase (OTP) so that a higher mortgage loan amount would be disbursed to the buyer, said the DPP.

As a property agent, Zulkarnain was aware that this amounted to an illegal "cashback" arrangement.

Despite this, he agreed to facilitate the arrangement, as he wanted to earn a commission from the property's sale. After speaking to Zulkarnain, Lau agreed to inflate the sale price on the OTP by $1 million.

Zulkarnain then abetted her to sign the transfer form containing the false information.

DPP Chan said: "On Feb 2, 2015, in reliance of the documents submitted on behalf of a supposed buyer, one Saiful Azri Amat, an application was made to DBS Bank to disburse a loan amount of $2,880,000.

"DBS Bank discovered that Saiful's income documents were forged and cancelled the mortgage loan. The sale of (the Limbok Terrace house) was not completed and DBS Bank did not disburse any loans."

The case involving Saiful, 35, is still pending.

Iswandi, on the other hand, admitted in a district court last month that he had duped Malayan Banking into delivering a mortgage loan of $2.84 million.

His alleged accomplices had earlier made arrangements to sell a Woodgrove Walk house near Woodlands Avenue 1 for $2.4 million by stating an inflated sale price of $3.55 million.

The court heard that in 2014, Sufandi roped in Iswandi, who was then jobless, to apply for a loan to buy the house even though the latter had no means to pay for it.

Iswandi was also promised $5,000, which he never received.

According to court documents, two other men - Mohamed Haron Hassan, 39, and Juma'at Johari, 40 - later received a "cashback" of $464,000. The cases involving Haron and Juma'at are also pending.

Iswandi is now out on bail of $10,000 and will surrender himself in the State Courts on Jan 6 next year to begin serving his sentence.