Two men admit involvement in housing loan cashback scam

Iswandi Yahya, 38, who is jobless, was told he would be paid $5,000 for taking part in the ruse.
Iswandi Yahya, 38, who is jobless, was told he would be paid $5,000 for taking part in the ruse.
Mohamad Hamzi Rabu, 50, admitted he had fraudulently executed a transfer form for the house.
Mohamad Hamzi Rabu, 50, admitted he had fraudulently executed a transfer form for the house.

A jobless man was roped in to apply for a loan for a house he had no means to buy, on a promise of $5,000 he never received.

Iswandi Yahya, 38, yesterday admitted in a district court he had cheated Malayan Banking (Maybank) into delivering the mortgage loan of $2.84 million.

He was unable to repay the loan and this led to Maybank losing more than $1.2 million. No restitution has been made to date.

Iswandi and former property agent Mohamad Hamzi Rabu, 50, were in court over their roles in a scam in which arrangements were made in 2014 to sell a house in Woodgrove Walk, near Woodlands Avenue 1, for $2.4 million but to state a price of $3.55 million.

Hamzi, the seller of the house, yesterday admitted he had fraudulently executed a transfer form containing the false statement.

The two men's alleged accomplices are Mohamed Haron Hassan, 39, Bijabahadur Rai Shree Kantrai, 50, and Juma'at Johari and Sufandi Ahmad, both 40.

The cases involving these four men are still pending.

The court heard that Bijabahadur had proposed the "cashback scheme" to Sufandi, whose role was to look for private landed properties on sale.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Joseph Gwee and Benedict Chan said that in 2014, Sufandi learnt the Woodgrove Walk house was for sale and roped Iswandi in as a buyer. Iswandi would apply for a mortgage loan in his name to buy the house. He was told he would be paid $5,000 later.

Iswandi agreed to take part in the ruse even though he had no financial means to buy the house.

According to court documents, Sufandi also obtained forged documents, including one purportedly from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, falsely stating Iswandi had an annual income of more than $470,000 in 2013.

Maybank received these documents before approving the loan of $2.84 million to Iswandi.

Iswandi will be sentenced next Tuesday, while Hamzi will be sentenced on Jan 6 next year.

$2.84m

The amount of the mortgage loan that Maybank approved to Iswandi Yahya for the purchase of a house located near Woodlands Avenue 1.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2020, with the headline 'Two men admit involvement in housing loan cashback scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe