Lawyer among 10 people charged over alleged roles in $11.4m housing loan cashback scam

Mohammed Lutfi Hussin is accused of having falsely certified "the correctness of an instrument" - a mortgage - for a house near Yio Chu Kang Road in 2014.
Mohammed Lutfi Hussin is accused of having falsely certified "the correctness of an instrument" - a mortgage - for a house near Yio Chu Kang Road in 2014.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A conveyancing lawyer was among 10 people who were charged on Tuesday (Dec 3) over their alleged roles in a housing loan cashback 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 near Yio Chu Kang Road 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.

The lawyer was charged with this offence under the Land Titles Act in a district court.

Details about Mr Naseeruddin were not revealed in court documents.

In an earlier statement, police said that 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 on Tuesday with offences including multiple counts of cheating.

The alleged facilitators 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.

 
 
 
 

The scam was uncovered when the nominee buyers defaulted on the loans, said the police.

In their two years of operating the scam, the alleged offenders purportedly managed to get three mortgages worth $8,518,000 approved.

They also allegedly made a fourth mortgage application of about $2.9 million, bringing the total loan amount to $11,398,000.

Two other men, Mohamed Haron Hassan, 38, and Juma'at Johari, 39, who were 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 near Woodlands Street 41.

The transfer form was said to have falsely listed the sale price of the property as $3.55 million.

Two people, Mohamad Hamzi Rabu and Ms Rohana Januri, allegedly signed this transfer form.

Hamzi, 50, an alleged seller, was also charged with one count of fraudulently executing a deed of transfer. A search on the Council for Estate Agencies' public register did not reveal any information about Haron and Juma'at.

Two alleged nominee buyers also appeared in court on Tuesday. 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 duped 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, was the only woman charged in court on Tuesday. She 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. She is also said to have given false information to an officer from the Commercial Affairs Department in December that year.

Sufandi will be back in court on Dec 11, while the nine others have had their cases adjourned to January next year.

For each count of cheating, offenders can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.