With a GDP per capita of $87,000, Singapore is likely to be one of the world’s most targeted places for scammers looking to earn a quick buck.
A scam can take place anywhere to anyone. You could be scammed in your home by illegal durian sellers, or when you shop online on e-commerce sites like Carousel.
Both the young and the elderly can become victims of scams but more often than not, the elderly are the ones who are more susceptible. They may be less active (and thus, less savvy) on social media, and may lack the necessary information to be able to identify a scam that other people may instantly recognise.
Very often, the same older folks may be flushed with disposable cash from their retirement and are thus easy prey for scammers looking to find victims to “invest” in their get-rich-quick schemes.
But this peculiar case we are looking at is much more complicated and well devised than an ordinary day to day mishap.
A Recent Case
[The companies and People involved have requested to not use their original identities. Thus, the names used are purely fictitious]
The common scams involve individual entities against a single corporation. But this situation has been a fine cross between business to business transactions and the implicated investors. There are 2 major company names that have been identified in this case and our team decided to investigate the fine line of the situation.
Crux of Story
A sales representative who was employed by a company that specialises in crowd funding, loan sourcing and alternative investment fund raising, was entrusted a project to secure funds of up to SGD$1 Million for a Marine Contractor, who was their client.
The claim was that the funds for required for their on-going projects with the Housing Development Board and solely for their sand imports from Bangladesh.
Little did the Sales Representative, whom diligently did her job in populating funds realise that what awaited her and her company was a joy ride.
The representative then proceeded to act on legal proceedings with the companies but to no desired outcome. Following which, she engaged JMS ROGERS for a consultation session.
JMS Rogers and team conducted an interview with this person who preferred to be addressed as Ms. May rather than her actual identity. The following depicts what we gathered from the case.
Could you Tell us how did u step into this industry?
I was employed as a sales representative with ABC Pte Ltd from. My job was basically to promote, market and sell the services of my firm. I was told to give my fullest in procuring and generating revenue for my firm.
What was the approach methodology that u for see in companies like ABC Pte Ltd?
The thing about ABC is we were focused on crowd funding and pooling of capital investments. There are many firms like this in western nations which have been the key stone of major companies in terms of financial backing. I did not see anything wrong in this methodology and thus, did what I had to do within my job scope as a revenue generator.
Could you elaborate on the case?
The project assigned to me by my company Director, was to source for funds amounting to $1million to be loaned to DX LLP. He told me that this company needed the funds for an on-going project of importing sand into Singapore. This company claimed that they had an-going project with Land Developments and they needed these funds to oversee this project. The director also told me that he had done the due diligence and had checked upon the credit worthiness of DX LLP.
I then proceeded to source for investors and I brought in a total of 9 investors who invested sums ranging from $50,000.00 to $150,000.00, totalling $850,000.00. Some other investors put in the balance to make up the $1,000.000.00. All of them entered into separate agreements with DX LLP and were promised returns of 2 or 3% each month for one year.
I know that the funds were all disbursed to DX LLP by the funders. The agreements were signed between DX LLP and the various funders. I only saw the agreements subsequently when it was shown to me by my Director.
When the cheques were issued for the monthly returns to all the funders, all of them were dishonoured. When the funders checked with my Director, they were told that there was some problem with the signature. Subsequently, no returns came from DX LLP.
It has come to my knowledge that a reputable bank had sued DX LLP during this period, and it is evident that they had used the funds sourced through us, to settle that suit. Also, along with this, DX LLP has records of several other suits which had been pending. From small to large organisations.
Ever since, the investors have been on my back as I was the one who was in charge of this crowdfunding incident. They are seeking back their hard-earned funds and I am seeking justice for them, and also for my integrity of purely doing my job and yet being misappropriated by scammers.
How did u identify that these could be potentially fictious?
It is evident from the above that the management of DX LLP had misled all those who had invested the sum of $1 million claiming that this money was to be used for their sand trade specifically.
However, that was not the case. I also have reason to believe that the documents shown by DX LLP to the investors purporting that they had rights to import sand from Bangladesh and the necessary approvals from the relevant authorities in Singapore to be fictitious, solely to bluff and scam all the investors into investing the said $1,000,000.00 with them.
What was your next course of action?
I then proceeded to make a police report and was redirected to the Claims Courts of Singapore. I understand that that is the legal and proper manner to seek justice. But I am also aware that the judgement will be announced after investigations, which may take forever due to the number of cases that are pending.
I hope to seek a faster, efficient and effective method of justice for my investors who have lost their hard-earned money, and also to wipe the dirt that has tarnished my personal integrity.
What were the future problems that your company expects from this situation?
People will lose hope and faith in my company as a whole. But I am not going to let that act as a deterrence to me in my actions to seek justice.
By engaging us, you will incur some costs, in terms of our engagement fees and commissions. Are you okay with that?
I understand that effective and efficient methods always come with a cost. I am from the corporate industry myself and I am well aware of the costs involved. As long as there is immediate and effective action taken, I am sure the money I pay is of great worth to the situation in hand.
JMS ROGERS decided to take up the case and started conducting the relevant information gathering of incidents to start the debt recovery process.
Turn of Events
It turned out that upon collating ground information and connecting the dotted lines, DX LLP was being falsely sued. ABC Pte Ltd has along been partnering with DX LLP and this entire scam was planned by ABC Pte Ltd after all. The sales representative had all along been misled and made to believe that her company was innocent. ABC Pte Ltd has tried to push over the entire blame onto DX LLP the moment it realized that this fraudulent act was going to be voiced out by the innocent sales representative, who appeared to be the cause of the entire pooling of funds.
It so happened that the legal investigation officers had overseen this matter and the courts had no choice but to sue just one half of the collaboration with the relevant evidence presented to them.
“Not every case is as simple as it seems on the surface. Sometimes, it is easier to convince the law with false information as the jurisdiction system in our nation is based on factual findings and written documentation with authorization signatures and endorsement. This one loop hole alone has allowed multiple scammers to get away with people’s hard-earned money and also gain a certain confidence that they can beat the system anytime they want.
But such acts will not be tolerated. There is a solution to solving every case and the first step is to get to the very core of the matter and identifying who the real culprit is. Having done that, we managed to bring upon justice to the case.
With the advice of my legal superiors and our late Criminal Lawyer Mr. Subash Anandan, we have managed to crack the hidden agendas of many of these complicated incidents and have commenced neccasary processes required.” – Roger Rajan [Director at JMS ROGERS]
This recent case was finally cracked and the process of debt recovery has commenced.
Who is the Authority in charge of Scammers?
Since this appears to be an investment, it’s easy to assume that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is responsible. When it comes to investment scams however, this is frequently a misconception.
It’s true that MAS does regulate companies and provide licenses for companies to provide financial services in Singapore. However, the first big mistake that most investors victims make is that they are not even “investing” with a MAS-regulated entity in the first place.
MAS maintains a Financial Institutions Directory that can be used to check if a company is indeed licensed to provide financial services in Singapore. If the company is not listed on the directory, it means that the MAS do not regulate them. Investment scams will not be found in the directory.
Dealing with unregulated entities for financial services would mean forgoing the protection afforded under the laws administered by MAS. So, it’s always recommended that you invest with a company that is under the Financial Institutions Directory.
Not surprisingly, a quick check on the Investor Alert List reveals many investment companies is on the MAS Investor Alert List.
Turning to the Authorities and Law
Aside from MAS, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) is the other authority that investment scam victims would turn to. More often than not however, victims typically only turn to the police after they have lost some, if not, all of their money, or when a promised payment was not made. By then, it’s usually too late.
The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) investigates white-collar crimes in Singapore. Investment scams targeting members of the public is identified as one of the areas it covers.
At the same time however, victims have to be mindful that simply waiting for the police to step in to investigate and prosecute may not be a course of action that is ideal for them. There are many reasons for that, but for this article, we will highlight just two.
Firstly, the onus is on the authorities to be able to prove that the investment is indeed a scam. Proving that it’s illegal may not be as straightforward as what most of us think.
The other reason is your ability to recover money. If you do invest in a scam, chances of you being able to recover your initial capital outlay are relatively low, even if the police were to investigate it. Police investigation takes time and the victims’ money, once transferred into a local bank account, may quickly be dissipated into overseas accounts, where the chances of recovery are close to none.
Educating our fellow Citizens.
Like it or not, protecting yourself against investment scams is a personal responsibility. While the relevant authorities can and will step in if misappropriation of funds or misrepresentation is reported to have occurred, any losses that we sustain from these investment scams would ultimately be borne by us, or our loved ones who have made these poor choices. Claiming an absence of education won’t help you recover your losses as well.
So, keep yourself and your loved ones updated about common scams occurring in Singapore.
Do not hesitate to give us a call for a Private and Confidential chat at +65 97658880 or a drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and a potential possibility of moving forward to recover your debts. Hard earned money should never be given away for bad decisions. Where there is a will, there is always a solution.
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