Property agent uses clients' money to buy luxury goods, causes them to forfeit S$1.2 million

The agent pocketed almost S$600,000 and bought stuff from Hermes, LV, Christian Louboutin and others.

Kerr Puay Hian | May 24, 2023, 10:10 AM

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A father and daughter pair are suing a developer after they had to forfeit a sum of S$1.2 million because their condominum purchase did not go through.

The duo, Li Suinan and Li Jialin, engaged property agent Liu Siyu, 32, in November 2015 to purchase a S$1,785,000 condominium unit in The Crest, located between Tanglin Road and Alexandra Road, developed by Wingcrown Investment Pte Ltd.

However, the property agent pocketed nearly S$600,000 of their payments. Because the developer did not receive the full sum, it terminated the Option to Purchase, and forfeited S$1,195,354.42 that the buyers had forked out.

While Liu Siyu was handed a three-year jail sentence for charges of criminal breach of trust and forgery in March 2023, the father and daughter pair are currently trying to recover the S$1,195,354.42 sum from the developer.

Agent persuaded them to buy condo

According to court documents from Liu’s criminal case, Jialin met Liu in the UK where they were both studying. They are both Chinese nationals.

Liu, who is a Singapore permanent resident, worked as a property agent in Singapore and asked Jialin if she wanted to buy a condominium unit.

After Liu promised to pay Jialin S$46,000 from her commission and offered to fork out the legal fees of the purchase, Jialin persuaded her father, Suinan, to jointly buy one unit in The Crest.

Agent pocketed payments

They signed the first Option to Purchase soon after and successfully paid the developer, through Liu, 40 per cent of the purchase price as a progress payment.

However, Liu pocketed S$342,876 of the payment from September 2016 to March 2018.

As the developer did not receive the agreed payments, it informed Jialin and Suinan that it decided to forfeit a sum of S$379,195.58 from the sums they had paid and wanted to refund $838,354.42 back to them.

After negotiations, the father and daughter agreed to a fresh Option to Purchase with the purchase price increased to S$1,900,000. The forfeited sum would be used for the purchase, and they must complete it within ten weeks.

However, they decided to continue to pay through Liu, who misappropriated another S$254,520. The purchase ultimately failed.

Used monies to buy luxury bags

Police investigations revealed that Liu used the monies she pocketed for personal use.

Her bank statements showed she made several purchases from various luxury stores described as “Christian Louboutin”, “Hermes – Scotts”, “Louis Vuitton Ion”, and “De Diamond”, among others.

She repaid all the monies to Jialin and Suinan between April 2019 and June 2019 after the police were involved.

Father and daughter want their money back

In the current civil suit, the father and daughter, represented by Lee Ee Yang and Sara Ng from Covenant Chambers, want their S$1,195,354 back in full, together with 5.33 per cent interest per annum from November 2018.

The originating application filed in the High Court showed that they believe the sum does not constitute a “true deposit” and should not be forfeited.

Both parties in the suit had filed extensive affidavits for their case. The suit will be heard at a later date.

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