Ex-property agent jailed for forgery

A former property agent was sentenced to five weeks’ jail and fined $2,145 for using a counterfeit stamp certificate in a property rental transaction and for issuing a counterfeit Goods and Services Tax (GST) invoice, revealed the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) on Monday.

Cheong Sai Chong, whose real estate licence expired on 1 July 2012, collected money from the tenant of a rental property to pay for the stamp duty. He then gave the tenant a counterfeit stamped certificate as proof of payment of the duty.

In September 2013, IRAS discovered that the tenancy agreements for certain properties had not been stamped, while the stamp duty had not been paid.

The stamp duty is paid on documents or agreements relating to properties, including tenancy or lease agreements, options to purchase, as well as sale and purchase agreements.

Cheong was also found to have charged the landlord GST for his agent commission even though he was not authorised to do so. The GST invoice provided by Cheong to the landlord was a counterfeit invoice from Dennis Wee Realty, which was authorised to collect GST.

IRAS noted that businesses that are not GST-registered but charge and collect GST from their customers may face a penalty of three times the amount of tax unlawfully collected, and a fine of up to $10,000 for each offence.

Meanwhile, any individual or business that deliberately forges stamp certificates may face fines of up to $10,000 and/or up to three years’ imprisonment. Penalties of up to four times the stamp duty payable may also be imposed for late or non-stamping of documents.

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