SINGAPORE - An Indonesian businesswoman who was cheated into giving a stranger a series of loans totalling $1 million has lost her bid to claim back more than half of the money from a guarantor.
The High Court ruled yesterday that Madam Lena Leowardi had effectively acted as an unlicensed moneylender because she had given the loans for a higher return in an organised way.
Under the Moneylenders Act, a loan given by an unlicensed moneylender is not enforceable in court.
Judicial Commissioner Tan Siong Thye said this was an "unfortunate case" in which 60-year-old Madam Leowardi as well as the guarantor, Mr Yeap Cheen Soo, were both victims of fraud.
The alleged fraudster in question was Mr Stanley Choong Kok Kee, a senior manager in a real estate firm, who claimed he had a US$7.2 million (S$9 million) inheritance but needed large sums of money to free it up. Madam Leowardi gave four loans to Mr Choong between March and June in 2011, which he never repaid.
Yesterday, she told The Straits Times from Indonesia that she intends to appeal. She said she was not satisfied with the decision because Mr Yeap did not take the stand during the two-day hearing last December.
Police investigations are pending after she and others who lent money to Mr Choong made reports against him.
Madam Leowardi tried to get back $540,000 in a civil suit against Mr Yeap, who was involved in two of the loans after she asked Mr Choong for some form of guarantee.