Ex-property agent pocketed $220,000

A former freelance property agent, who conned four victims into investing money in overseas properties or a business in Dubai, was sentenced to three years and two months' jail yesterday for cheating and forgery.

Shakir Khan, 56, an undischarged bankrupt, was also fined a total of $23,000 or 11 weeks' jail in default for unlicensed and unregistered estate agency work.

He faced 17 charges under the Penal Code for cheating the victims of $224,240, and five under the Estate Agents Act.

He admitted to eight proceeded charges.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jingxi said Singaporean Phyllis Noreen Gwynne, now 90, saw Khan's advertisement looking for investors for commercial land in Perth, Australia, in June 2000.

Over the phone, Khan told Ms Gwynne that he was also dealing in hotel properties in Perth.

A few days later, he went to her home and lied that he had five hotels in Perth for her to invest in.

On June 5 that year, Ms Gwynne entered into an "investment agreement'' and handed $30,000 to Khan at his lawyer's office in return for a 50 per cent share of the profits derived from the sale of the hotel.

Later that month, he collected another $40,000 from her for investing in another hotel in Perth, and in July, another $30,000 for investing in a motel there.

Ms Gwynne delayed filing a police report because of his assurances. She finally did so on Feb 15, 2006.

Khan did not make any restitution to Ms Gwynne, who was cheated of a total of $135,740.

He also deceived Mr Goh Hin Hui, 38, into believing that he had business dealings in Dubai, and induced him to hand over $20,000 for the investment in November 2004.

When Mr Goh later asked about the status of his investment, Khan would delay payment to him and come up with various excuses.

He stole a blank Citibank cheque from a renovation contractor's chequebook and forged a cheque for $50,000 to give to Mr Goh in 2005.

The cheque bounced when Mr Goh tried to bank it.

Khan has made restitution of only $8,500.

Khan, who was first arrested in February 2006, went on the run after he was released on police bail.

He was arrested at a void deck in Woodlands on March 3 last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-property agent pocketed $220,000'. Print Edition | Subscribe