Woman behind troubled US investment scheme speaks up

Woman behind troubled US investment scheme speaks up
Ms Clara Tan (L) founder of CTL Global (R), speaking on Skype

About 300 investors in Singapore pumped US$11 million (S$14.9 million) into CTL Global's plan to buy up distressed houses in the US.

The New Paper on Sunday found out after contacting Ms Clara Tan, the company's founder.

Ms Tan, who is in the US, spoke via Skype from the US city of Indianapolis, in Indiana, on Feb 6, saying: "We have about 100 investors who bought property in Memphis (in the US state of Tennessee) and 200 who bought in Indianapolis.

"The properties in Indianapolis are a lot cheaper. So about US$7 million went to Memphis. The rest of the investment went to Indianapolis."

On Feb 1, TNPS ran a report on the trouble that seven investors were having with their investment.

They had met Ms Tan during different property seminars and bought into her scheme between 2012 and 2013.

But months after pumping in thousands, some of them claimed they did not get the returns they were promised.

There was more trouble later, with some properties even facing the threat of foreclosure.

Ms Tan, 40, says she then dropped everything here to fly to the US to ensure "things were in order".


She has been in Indianapolis for the past four months on an unplanned trip.

"Last September, I found out that the property management company was not paying the rental to the owners and that the property manager has fled with the money," she says.

"So I flew to Indianapolis and stayed to fix the situation.

"In order to ensure that things are managed smoothly, I have decided to set up my own property management company in Indianapolis," she says, adding that the process takes time.

Ms Tan claims that it was only last month that she got the rental back.

Ms Tan says that the past four months in the US has been difficult.

She lost US$500,000 of her own money to contractors, who she claims cheated her repeatedly with shoddy work.

She claims CTL Global has legal proceedings against at least two of these contractors.

"I was stabbed by a tenant and Randall (her assistant) had a gun pointed at him," she recalls.

Ms Tan did not state how bad her injuries were.

She also denies being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as suggested by one of the investors, or that her passport has been impounded.

Flashing it at the web cam, she says: "I have my passport here with me and if you look at the pages, there is nothing here to indicate that it was impounded at any point."

A report in The Indianapolis Star, published in September 2013, said that CTL Global Holdings had already resold some of its Indianapolis properties "at prices sharply higher than it paid for them to buyers with Asian names".

Ms Tan says the property was indeed sold for US$38,334 after buying it for US$10,000.

"But I spent US$24,000 of my own money renovating the place.

"So in the end, I only made about US$4,334," she insists.

She also claims she has helped a couple of Singapore investors pay their mortgage loan for at least three months when they were in financial difficulties.

"I can't keep doing that. I am running a business, after all," she says.

Having helped some of them out, she hopes the investors will be patient as she claws her way out of the mess.

The investors, who have been waiting for months to hear from her, were not completely convinced.

One, speaking on the condition of anonymity, describes Ms Tan as being a rookie even though she spoke like she was an expert when she was selling the investment scheme.

"She has so many unforeseen situations that proves she doesn't really know what to look out for.

"And she has no full awareness of what her operational issues were until investors flagged it," says the investor.

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