Tricked into paying for homes that don’t exist

Using faked Housing Department letterheads that misspelled ‘Pejabat’ (Office) as ‘Perjabat’, a con artist has tricked at least four people out of RM40,000 by making them believe they would be eligible for a low medium-cost (LMC) apartment if they paid up.

The victims thought they would be assured of getting a unit costing RM72,500 on the island after paying RM10,000 each.

But the units did not exist and the victims were not even entered onto the state’s waiting list of housing applicants.

The 41-year-old man’s trickery came to an end after police arrested him on Feb 24 at Komtar.

When contacted, George Town OCPD Asst Comm Mior Farida-lathrash Wahid said cops recovered RM10,000 and some documents from the man.

The suspect, he said, would be remanded until Thursday and the case would be referred to the deputy prosecutor office to be charged under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.

State Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo was livid about the scam.

“No money will ever be collected from applicants for low-cost, low medium-cost and affordable housing units,” he told a press conference in Komtar yesterday.

The four victims were also present and alleged that they were asked to pay RM300 for the PN-1 state housing application form which is, in fact, free.

The victims were later asked to pay between RM9,300 and RM12,500 to get the ‘offer letter’.

“The fake letter lacked reference numbers and was signed by a non-existent officer,” Jagdeep said.

One of the victims, identified only as Chuah, said he was approached by a man claiming to be the middleman of the Housing Department last August.

“He asked me for RM12,500 to be guaranteed a unit.

“After I paid, I checked with the developer and found there was no ‘Block 2’ as stated in the offer letter,” he said.

Jagdeep said he had instructed the state Housing Department to lodge a police report and he would contact the state police chief for updates.

“I hope those who are cheated will also lodge reports and inform the Housing Department too,” he said. - The Star

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