Real estate agent lands behind bars

Real estate agent lands behind bars

SINGAPORE - A Real estate agent who misappropriated a client's money and cheated three people in an investment scam was jailed for a total of 11 months and two weeks by a district court yesterday.

Mustafa Kamal Seri, 52, was also fined $18,000 for introducing clients to moneylenders and handling their money in violation of rules under the Estate Agents Act.

In sentencing him, District Judge Brenda Tan said that he had "taken advantage of victims who had really trusted him".

He pleaded guilty last month to committing the offences.

Then, the court heard that in February last year, he convinced client Karyawan Sinar Widjoyo, 41, to borrow $50,000 from a moneylender on his behalf. Mustafa Kamal, who was then registered with Your Estate Specialist agency, could not get a loan as he was a bankrupt.

Later, in June last year, the same client handed him $15,000 to pay for the renovation of a new flat. However, the company tasked to do the renovation received only $4,100. Mustafa Kamal spent the remaining $10,900 on personal expenses and paying for his daughter's school fees in Australia.

Five months later, he approached Mr Takim Laman, 62, and persuaded him to "invest" in his property investment scheme, telling the security officer that he would receive a big cut from it.

Mr Takim was so taken in that he roped in housewife Aishah Jaafar and wellness therapist Salmah Tahir, both 48, to invest in the scheme. Together, they pumped in $43,000 but received nothing in return.

Defence counsel Mohan Das Naidu said that his client is now a taxi driver and is supporting his wife and two children, who are still attending school.

For the misappropriation offence alone, Mustafa Kamal could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined.

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