A property agent, who pocketed $2,900 of his client's money and then resorted to forgery to cover up his crime, was jailed for three weeks on Tuesday. Benly Ang , 37, pleaded guilty to committing criminal breach of trust and to forging his client's handwriting to indicate receipt of the money.
Ang was an agent with Knight Frank Property Network in May last year. His client, Mr Nicholas Loh Kah Teck, 27, wanted to rent an apartment at the Coastarina condominium in East Coast Road. A sum of $2,900 was paid as a booking deposit and this was reflected in the letter of intent between Mr Loh and the landlord. However, before the lease agreement could be signed, the landlord jacked up the rent.
Mr Loh backed out and Ang collected the full refund of $2,900 on May 25. However, Mr Loh did not handing the refund back to his client. Instead, he used it to settle his gambling debts and loans from loansharks.
On June 4, he handed the landlord a copy of the letter of intent with a handwritten addition purportedly by Mr Loh stating that he had received the $2,900. Ang had written this himself. On Aug 3, he handed a cheque to Mr Loh but it bounced due to a lack of funds. A week later, Mr Loh went to the police.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Serene Chew said that Ang had abused his position as a property agent. Agreeing, District Judge Mathew Joseph said that clients are entitled to expect that property agents carry out their duty professionally.
"By your actions, you had brought a stain to your profession," the judge added.
Ang, who has made full restitution, will start his sentence on July 16 as he requested time to settle his personal matters.