Lawyer, 9 others charged over housing loan scam

Conveyancing lawyer Mohammed Lutfi Hussin is among the 10 charged over the scam involving nearly $11.4 million.
Conveyancing lawyer Mohammed Lutfi Hussin is among the 10 charged over the scam involving nearly $11.4 million.

A conveyancing lawyer was among 10 people charged yesterday over their alleged roles in a housing loan scam involving nearly $11.4 million.

Mohammed Lutfi Hussin, 53, is accused of having falsely certified "the correctness of an instrument" - a mortgage - for a house in Saraca Terrace on April 22, 2014.

It was allegedly falsely stated that Lutfi was a witness to the execution of the mortgage by the named mortgagor of the property, Mr Mohammad Naseeruddin Allamdin.

Police said the scam, which was carried out in 2014 and 2015, involved artificially inflating property sale prices to maximise bank borrowings to reap cashbacks.

The three alleged facilitators - Sufandi Ahmad, 39; Kok Chiew Leong, 46; and Bijabahadur Rai Shree Kantrai, 49 - were also charged yesterday with offences including multiple counts of cheating.

They are said to have arranged with the sellers and sellers' property agents to purchase properties at pre-agreed prices. The purported inflated prices were then used to apply for bank loans.

Upon completion of each sale, the sellers would allegedly return to the facilitators the sum they received from the bank loan in excess of the pre-agreed sale price.

The facilitators are also said to have recruited nominee buyers and submitted forged income documents to the banks to obtain loans.

Mohamed Haron Hassan, 38, and Juma'at Johari, 39, then property agents, were each charged with one count of fraudulently executing a deed of transfer dated Oct 3, 2014 for a house in Woodgrove Walk. The transfer form was said to have falsely listed the sale price as $3.55 million. Two people, Mohamad Hamzi Rabu and Ms Rohana Januri, allegedly signed this transfer form. Hamzi, 50, an alleged seller, was charged with one count of fraudulently executing a deed of transfer.

 
 
 
 

Two alleged nominee buyers also appeared in court yesterday. Saiful Azri Ali Amat, 34, is accused of attempting to dupe DBS Bank into approving and delivering a mortgage loan of $2.88 million. Iswandi Yahya, 37, allegedly misled a Singapore branch of Malayan Banking Berhad into approving and delivering a home loan of $2.84 million.

Another alleged seller, Lau Ai Geck, 63, is accused of attempting to fraudulently execute a deed of transfer for a house in Limbok Terrace near Yio Chua Kang Road in February 2015.

Sufandi will be back in court on Dec 11. The others will have their cases heard in January next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2019, with the headline 'Lawyer, 9 others charged over housing loan scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe