Property agent jailed for cheating 3 out of $350k

A property agent who said he is a descendant of Johor royalty, including a 19th-century Sultan of Singapore, cheated three people out of nearly $350,000.

He told them, through a friend, that he was potentially worth billions of dollars, but needed money to pay for estate duties before he could claim the inheritance from his mother's estate.

Tengku Yacob Mohamed, 45, was yesterday sentenced to four years' jail after he admitted to 13 of 39 charges of cheating between 2013 and 2014.

His three victims - Mr David Teo Wee, 66, Madam Martha Nonis Lee Gay Meng, 87, and Malaysian Chan Siew Yean, 53 - were conned out of a total of $348,602. No restitution was made.

Deputy Public Prosecutor David Koh told District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim that, some time in 2005, Yacob told a fellow housing agent, Madam Wong Mee Cheng, 67, that he was a descendant of the last Sultan of Singapore, and had shares in Kampong Glam.

He showed her a 1938 Straits Times report on the wedding of his maternal grandfather, who was the great-grandson of Sultan Hassain Mahomed Shah, a Johor sultan. An alternative spelling is Sultan Hussein Mohamed Shah.

He also showed her an inheritance certificate from the Syariah Court, which stated that he had received six shares in the estate of his mother. He gave her copies of the newspaper cutting and inheritance certificate.

Yacob said he had to pay estate duties to the Monetary Authority of Singapore before his inheritance could be released.

He asked her for a loan to pay the duties and promised to repay her once he received his inheritance.In fact, there were no such estate duties payable on his mother's estate, said DPP Koh.

His lawyer S. S. Dhillon said his client was remorseful.

Yacob had a previous cheating conviction in 1999. The maximum penalty for cheating is 10 years' jail and a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'Property agent jailed for cheating 3 out of $350k'. Print Edition | Subscribe