More than 4 years' jail for woman in scam to try to obtain over $1 million in loan

SINGAPORE- A woman was sentenced on Friday (April 23) to four years and three months’ jail after taking part in a scam where she and an alleged accomplice posed as property owners in a bid to obtain a loan of more than $1 million.

Foo Wei Lee, then an accountant, also took part in 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 last month to nine charges for offences including cheating and forgery. Eighteen other charges were considered during sentencing.

Foo’s alleged accomplices include 25-year-old Khor Choon Kiat, who was her boyfriend at the time; his mother Sim Seok Kuan, 54; and his friend Yeo Hwa Piao, 48. Their cases are still pending.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Pei Wei said during an earlier proceeding 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.

Khor roped in Foo as she was familiar with loan processes. He also recruited Yeo as the latter was willing to be the director of a firm called Foosball Strikers, the court heard.

DPP Tan 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 creditworthy, as well as that Yeo, as the director of Foosball Strikers, was creditworthy, though neither was true.”

The forged documents included a 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.

Some time around July 2019, Khor came up with another plan to make a fraudulent application for a loan secured on property belonging to others so as to obtain a sum larger than the one from the first scam.

Khor, Foo and some others then sourced for properties which they could use in the ruse, said DPP Tan. They found a suitable property owned by a married couple who were not part of the ruse.

The DPP 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.

They also went to places such as law firms to sign items that included 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. No restitution has been made except for an instalment payment of $7,500 for the first ruse.

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

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