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Property agents charged with backdating Option to Purchase to evade raised stamp duties for condo unit buyers

Property agents charged with backdating Option to Purchase to evade raised stamp duties for condo unit buyers

Screengrab from Google Street View of Sandy Palm condominium complex.

SINGAPORE: In a first charging of its kind, two property agents were charged on Friday (Mar 12) with exercising a backdated Option to Purchase (OTP) intending for the buyers of the property to evade higher stamp duties on their third private property transaction.

Loy Thye Wei, a 43-year-old property agent listed online with ERA Realty, was given one charge of falsely stating the date of the OTP for a fourth floor apartment at Sandy Palm condominium in Loyang.

She was representing the seller of the property, and is accused of falsely stating the date on the OTP as Jul 4, 2018, when the OTP was agreed on at least four days later.

The Government had announced property cooling measures on Jul 5, 2018, raising rates for the additional buyer's stamp duties. Rates on or before Jul 5, 2018 were charged at 10 per cent for Singapore citizens buying their third and subsequent residential property, while the revised rates that kicked in from Jul 6, 2018 were 15 per cent.

Mu Shen, a 51-year-old real estate agent listed online with PropNex Realty, was accused of abetting Loy in the false backdating of the OTP date.

The buyers of the property at 163 Jalan Loyang Besar were also charged. Daniel Halim and Lee Liu Ying, both 44, are accused of evading payment of duty by executing a backdated OTP.

Mu, Halim and Lee will return to court later this month, while Loy will return in April.

All four can be jailed up to three years, fined up to S$10,000, or both if convicted under the Stamp Duties Act.

Source: CNA/ll(rw)

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