FRAUD!!

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SV1231
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FRAUD!!

Post by SV1231 » Tue, 10 Jan 2012 6:28 pm

Dear Members,

I am writing to seek your opinion & expertise in dealing with a case of fraud, at least prima facie it appears to be.
In December I got a call from a lady who claimed to be the owner of a HDB apartment in Bukit Batok. She had a master bedroom that she wanted to let out for S$800.She mentioned that she is only looking at letting out only one master room for other rooms she will need for her family.

I visited her place. The room looked ok to me so I decided to go ahead with it. After looking at NRIC card & the name of the place I paid her a deposit of S$ 800 with the understanding that remaining will be paid when I take possession of the room next month.

However, she was insisting & pleading that I pay the remaining also. I told her I will try but it looks difficult.

The next day she called me saying that you had mentioned that you will pay more today. I said I did not. Then she mentioned that her tenant is leaving & he needs his deposit & he is getting abusive so can you please pay the remaining. I said that I do not have money. She mentioned that can I borrow with my friends. At this point I told her that she would have more friends in Singapore why don’t she ask them. In fact, she claims that her husband is working. Strange then she did not ask him but a stranger.

Closer to the date of my movement I called her to check when is she getting the agreement done. She mentioned that there are bed bugs in her house, thanks to the previous tenant and she has thrown her stuff outside and will not buy new stuff till next month.

I advised her to get the pest control done & get the agreement done as well. She asked that if she can get the agreement will I pay the remaining now. I told her that nothing doing I will pay the remaining the day I take possession. She lost interest.

When I called her again today she mentioned that she has got the pest control done but it is till there & she has thrown all her furniture. So she was concerned that how am I going to stay. She mentioned that she will check with her husband & let me know the plan. I told her that since I finalized the deal with her I have no ‘plan B’ so am counting on the room.

At this point I got suspicious & got my friend to call her to see if she is still soliciting queries about the room. My friend called & she said that the room is available & the rent is S$ 500. She asked my friend to come & view the property & finalize it. When my friend asked that are there any more tenants currently staying or expected she said NO.

I think I have no doubt that she is robbing peter to pay paul!

Any ideas on how I should handle this from this point onwards?

I intend to do the right things
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Post by JR8 » Tue, 10 Jan 2012 7:23 pm

Why did you pay a months deposit on a contract without seeing any contract? You can have no idea what contractual terms she might spring on you at the last minute. Do you at least have a receipt for your funds?

It might just be that she is in a cash-flow hole and doesn't have the resources to ride out the temporary bumps. But I don't think this should be your focus. If you want the room, you need the agreement. If she drags her feet on it, tell her you will go elsewhere and request return of your deposit. Any feet dragging on her part and give her two weeks notice in writing that you will take her to the SCT... and meanwhile have some other options lined up, in case it goes this pear-shaped.

p.s meanwhile keep a diary of events. Calls made/rcvd, what was discussed etc.

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Post by SV1231 » Tue, 10 Jan 2012 7:54 pm

Yes, I have the receipts for all payments that I have done. In all S$1,100.

Thankfully, I have now a plan B, which is slightly more expensive but certain. I should have that worked out in a day or 2.

Is there a way I can ensure that she can’t cheat anyone else in future?

Is this fit to be reported to police?

I have googled her number & can see that she has been advertising the room as recently as jan 05th.

I can organize another place , others might not be so lucky..
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Post by JR8 » Tue, 10 Jan 2012 8:18 pm

SV1231 wrote:Yes, I have the receipts for all payments that I have done. In all S$1,100.

Good

Thankfully, I have now a plan B, which is slightly more expensive but certain. I should have that worked out in a day or 2.

That's good too.

Is there a way I can ensure that she can’t cheat anyone else in future?

I know it is hard to be objective when you're right in the thick of it. But you have no contract/agreement, so in what way has she cheated you?

Is this fit to be reported to police?

For what offence? I'd suggest trying not to get distracted by wanting to get 'revenge' on her, but concentrating on getting your deposit back.

I have googled her number & can see that she has been advertising the room as recently as jan 05th.

But that doesn't constitute any offence does it? If she refuses to return your deposit, then that is another matter. Hence my mention of the SCT.

I can organize another place , others might not be so lucky.

That might be a concern, but ultimately it is not your problem. Focus on what you want out of this.

Caveat emptor.


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Post by durain » Tue, 10 Jan 2012 8:31 pm

ask your friend that foned up earlier to arrange to view the room, then you tag along too. take a tape recorder (or video it via your mobile fone or something) what she got to say!

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Post by carteki » Wed, 11 Jan 2012 1:33 pm

If its HDB then surely she needs permission from the board to rent a room? Contact them and ask if she has it (I know permission is required for the whole flat - it has been discussed elsewhere on the forums)

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All is well that ends well..

Post by SV1231 » Fri, 13 Jan 2012 11:15 am

Folks,

I have an update on this:

The story had a happy ending eventually!!

So after making a zillion excuses she called me to say that her husband has decided to refund my money in full & they are not looking to have a tenant for some time now.

I pretended to be surprised & said that how am I to find a place in such a short time!!

I told her that in that case I will need my deposit back today. She said that come on Sunday.

I insisted that there is now no tomorrow on this. I need my money & I need it now.

She promised to call back & communicate the time I can come to her place & get my money.

What followed was a barrage of lies & excuses? Like my husband will give it to you in CBD today, he will deposit in your bank account today… he will transfer via atm & blah blah..

I told her that since her husband has the money why she doesn’t give me his number so that I can call & coordinate with him directly.

She gave another excuse that he is working night shifts at a construction site.

The minute she mentioned that her husband is saying that he can’t come out today he will transfer tomorrow morning.. I lost it.. I told her that there is indeed no tomorrow on it. Then she said that she is asking her husband to call me.

Quite concurrently, She was calling my friend who called previously for a deposit stating that the current tenant is moving out & he needs his money today . the same crap that she gave me. My friend was with me & we both laughed over it!

We decided to visit her place & see for ourselves.

When we reached her place we saw her husband (I recognize him from the snap that I had seen in the house on earlier occasion) talking to his son..

He asked us who we wants to meet we said that You sir , are the person we were not expecting to meet but are very glad to meet.

Guess what, he claimed he knew nothing of this.. His wife did not check with him & he is not a party to this deal. He left home thereafter.. My friend made himself very clear that if we are not getting the money now we are going to police. We were having this conversation just outside their home in order to shame them…

It worked.

She came with us. Sent her daughter to fetch money from the ATM ..and this is how we got the money back,…

I have no doubt that she is a Con Woman & they have gone thru this ritual many times…

Glad to have my money back :)

She maintained that they are not bad people & how I should have been more understanding.. I told her that we have already established that & I know it for a fact that she is a serial cheater. I then asked my friend who was standing next to us to call her. When her mobile was ringing & she got it that the person she was requesting deposit from is none other than my friend here expressions were worth a million dollar. She was angry & upset that we did not know how to deal with a lady.

Thank you for your advice. I appreciate it.

THE END!
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Post by the lynx » Fri, 13 Jan 2012 11:31 am

An interesting encounter indeed, though IMHO, you should really document everything and send her off to police. Both are you are fortunately smart enough to call her bluff but she's gonna do the same for other clueless expats... and leave more bodies in her trail...

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Post by durain » Fri, 13 Jan 2012 9:22 pm

good job you got your money back. let's hope no one will fall into this scam again.

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Post by JR8 » Fri, 13 Jan 2012 9:56 pm

I'm glad the OP has got his money back, and it's a shame he had to go to such trouble to do so.

But can someone enlighten me and tell me what 'scam' has occurred? What contract has been breached? Who has lost out?

As far I can see none, none and no one. You can have what ever suspicions you like but they are not evidence of any wrongdoing. It could be the landlady is just very disorganised generally, and bad at organising her cashflow.

I'm reminded of Occam's Razor: 'Often the simplest explanation is the right one'.

Of course if the landlady refused to return the deposit after say two weeks written notice, or indeed if she was in breach of the tenancy agreement (which the OP apparently didn't think important enough to get before paying up) then he would have recourse to court.

But none of this happened. So why the fuss? :???:


p.s. I write as someone who has taken cases through court. And my impression on this topic scenario is that it was never established that there was ever a case to make, 'frustration' not being actionable as far as I am aware.

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Post by SV1231 » Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:18 pm

At the outset allow me to state that i value the element of objective evaluation devoid of passion & prejudice that you bring to the table..
However, most respectfully I will like to disagree with the suggestion that there wasn’t something fishy or it wasn’t her intention to defraud me.
May be not in letter but certainly in spirit!

My Singaporean friend who accompanied me in fact was insisting that we must report it to police & let them investigate if it is fraud. However, having received a dose on my objectivity let me to persuade him to focus on getting the cash back.

Having met her, dealt with her (and her lies) I am convinced that she was no ordinary housewife who just could not honour a commitment… I am sure a less perseverant party would have forfeited their deposit.

I grant that there wasn’t an agreement (& I did not know that an agreement is a precondition even for deposit). However, I had signed receipts with her FIN # , signature & reason mentioned. She would have some challenge explaining that.

In the end what actually worked was a threat to report the matter to police.

But, like I said I respect your views & help.

Let us agree to disagree on this.

BTW, I guess it was Oscar Wilde who said "The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
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Post by SV1231 » Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:25 pm

On hindsight I don’t think I should hold it against her that she was lying to me when I know she didn’t tell the truth to her husband!!

I don’t wish to seek revenge for getting my money back is enough restitution.

I am happy to be out :)

But it bothers me to think that she will make a fool of someone in need.

Take this- I confirmed the deal on Dec 16th. Stopped looking for places thereafter. On jan 10th I got the shocker. I feel bad that someone somewhere will go thru this & I can’t help it much (except commenting on her ads)
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Post by JR8 » Fri, 13 Jan 2012 11:04 pm

SV1231 wrote:At the outset allow me to state that i value the element of objective evaluation devoid of passion & prejudice that you bring to the table..

Kind of you to say. Like I said right at the start I realise precisely how being in the thick of it can cloud one's perspective


However, most respectfully I will like to disagree with the suggestion that there wasn’t something fishy or it wasn’t her intention to defraud me.
May be not in letter but certainly in spirit!

A suggestion of fishiness does not a court case win :)

My Singaporean friend who accompanied me in fact was insisting that we must report it to police & let them investigate if it is fraud.

And again I ask, what fraud?

However, having received a dose on my objectivity let me to persuade him to focus on getting the cash back.

Which is good. So your issue is adequately resolved.

Having met her, dealt with her (and her lies) I am convinced that she was no ordinary housewife who just could not honour a commitment… I am sure a less perseverant party would have forfeited their deposit.

Why would they forfeit their deposit, when if they had a case to make, the avenue via the SCT is simple, cheap and easy to follow?

I grant that there wasn’t an agreement (& I did not know that an agreement is a precondition even for deposit).

It is not a precondition, but it is common sense, no?

However, I had signed receipts with her FIN # , signature & reason mentioned. She would have some challenge explaining that.

Indeed she would if she failed to return your deposit. But she didn't. So it's not an issue.


In the end what actually worked was a threat to report the matter to police.

Yes it's interesting that, I wonder why. Maybe the threat of the issue escalating further was enough to snap her out of her confusion, realign her immediate priorities, and so on.


But, like I said I respect your views & help. Let us agree to disagree on this.
BTW, I guess it was Oscar Wilde who said "The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple

Hehe....
Ok, let's agree to disagree :) But please also take it as a salutary lesson, that you managed to walk away from with nil damage and just a bit of effort. Like I said also back at the start 'caveat emptor'. You're going to meet plenty of other people like this lady later in your life, and you'll be playing higher and more complex stakes, so keep it in mind ;).

Good luck in your other place.


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