Woman admits to roles in 2 scams, including posing as property owner to borrow over $1m

SINGAPORE - An accountant took part in two loan scams, including one in which she and an alleged accomplice posed as the owners of a property in an attempt to take a loan of more than $1 million.

Foo Wei Lee was also part of another ruse - a corporate loan fraud - in which financial firms were duped into disbursing more than $230,000 in total.

The 48-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty in a district court on Thursday (March 11) to nine charges for offences including cheating and forgery. Eighteen other charges will be considered during sentencing.

Foo's alleged accomplices include 24-year-old Khor Choon Kiat, who was her boyfriend at the time; his mother Sim Seok Kuan, 53; and his friend Yeo Hwa Piao, 48. Their cases are still pending.

The court heard that some time around December 2018, Khor and Sim hatched a plan to earn "quick cash" by making fraudulent applications to financial firms that offer loans to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Pei Wei said that Khor then recruited Foo into the scheme as she was familiar with loan processes.

The DPP added that Khor also recruited Yeo as the older man was willing to be the director of a firm called Foosball Strikers.

The prosecutor said: "The accused persons applied for business loans under Foosball Strikers' name from at least four finance companies... The accused persons forged documents to prove that Foosball Strikers had ongoing business activities and was credit-worthy, as well as that Yeo, as the director of Foosball Strikers, was credit-worthy, though neither was true."

The forged documents included a Foosball Strikers' financial report for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2017.

As a result, the financial firms, including Northstar Capital and Finaxar Capital, were duped into disbursing loans totalling more than $230,000.

The DPP said that some time around July 2019, Khor came up with a plan to make a fraudulent application for a loan secured on property belonging to others so as to obtain a larger sum compared with the scam that the group executed in 2018.

The prosecutor told the court that a group of people, including Khor and Foo, then sourced for properties which they could use in the ruse.

After a search, they finally found a suitable property owned by a married couple who were not part of the ruse.

DPP Tan said that on Aug 23, 2019, Foo and Yeo posed as the property owners to meet a relationship manager from Ethoz Capital to sign some loan documents. The company then agreed to give a loan of $1.1 million.

Still posing as a couple, the court heard that the pair later went to places, including law firms, to sign items that include mortgage documents.

Court documents do not state who alerted the police but Foo and her alleged accomplices were arrested on Oct 18, 2019, before Ethoz Capital transferred the cash.

They have made no restitution.

Foo, who is now in remand, will be sentenced next month.

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