Tag Archives: Property Agent

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.

Two salespersons disciplined for bypassing landlord’s salesperson

Two salespersons, Goh Seow Guan, Vincent and Chua Say Siong, Eric were disciplined for misleading acts in an attempt to bypass the landlord’s salesperson, bringing disrepute to the estate agency industry.

Goh represented a tenant who was interested in renting a property. He contacted the landlord’s salesperson to arrange for a viewing and agreed to co-broke with him for the potential rental transaction. Later, Goh’s client made an offer which was conveyed to the landlord through her salesperson and the landlord counter-offered. Goh’s client then made another offer to rent the property at $8,500 per month if the landlord was agreeable to pay $1,500 to repair certain defects.

Instead of conveying the offer to the landlord’s salesperson, Goh decided to bypass him and asked his colleague Chua to call the landlord to close the transaction. Chua pretended that he had an interested tenant for the property and conveyed the same offer that Goh’s client had proposed.

Upon reviewing the profile of Chua’s prospective tenant, the landlord became suspicious that this tenant was the same person as Goh’s client. Although Chua denied it when asked, the landlord discovered that the tenant was indeed Goh’s client when she met up with him. The landlord informed her salesperson that he had been bypassed, and the salesperson filed a complaint to Goh’s and Chua’s estate agent.

The estate agent subsequently conducted investigations. When asked, Goh and Chua misrepresented to their director that they had come to know of the prospective tenant independently.

For bypassing the landlord’s salesperson even though having agreed to co-broke and lying to a director of his estate agent, Goh has brought disrepute to the estate agency industry, a breach of the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care (CEPCC). He was sentenced to a total financial penalty of $3,000 and four months’ suspension, with a two months’ suspension running concurrently.

Chua was convicted of bypassing the landlord’s salesperson, lying to the landlord about the identity of the prospective tenant and lying to a director of his estate agent. He was sentenced to a total financial penalty of $5,000 and four months’ suspension, with another three months’ and two months’ suspension running concurrently.