Man jailed for 20 months for rental returns scam

SINGAPORE - A marketing director of an office space rental company who cheated eight victims out of more than $200,000 in a rental returns scam was sentenced to 20 months' jail last Friday.

Lim Khee Swee, 49, also known as Ryman, admitted to three charges of cheating two victims of a total of $110,000 in 2011.

He deceived them into believing that they would get a monthly rental return of around $6,500 for six to 12 months if they invested $30,000 to $50,000 with Royal Silk Business Hub (RSBH), which rents out office space for subletting to tenants.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Andrew Low said Lim had started incurring gambling debts in 2011. He decided to devise a scheme to cheat existing tenants or other parties into believing that they could get guaranteed rental returns of 13 to 23 per cent a month for six to 12 months on their investments in RSBH's business. He did this by preparing false documents including company letters and rental agreements.

Between May 10 and July 14, 2011, he cheated eight victims of $213,000. He later paid back $99,000 to some of them.

A shareholder of the company reported him to the police after learning that Lim was misusing the company letterhead to collect money for his own benefit.

After his arrest, Lim confessed that he cheated the victims by claiming there were offices available to rent when, in fact, there was none. He also admitted preparing false rental agreements.

He used the money received from victims to cover his misconduct - such as by giving money to some clients to keep up the pretence. He also used it to clear his debt with loan sharks.

Lim, who will begin his sentence on Monday, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge.


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