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KUCHING, Sept 19: A fraudulent real estate investment and housing construction scheme, which never actually existed, involved losses totalling RM3 million.
Sarawak Commissioner of Police Dato Mohd Azman Ahmad Sapri disclosed that two individuals were charged by the Commercial Crime Investigation Department Miri back in March of this year and their court trial is scheduled for November in Miri courts.
He also confirmed that several police reports had been lodged by the victims following a courtesy call by the Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) secretary-general Dato Hishamuddin Hashim and a representative of the scam victims at the Sarawak Police Headquarters in Kuching yesterday (Sept 18).
According to Hishamuddin, MHO has received over 80 complaints related to the real estate investment scam that primarily targets poor rural communities, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) recipients, and senior citizens in Sarawak.
In a statement today, Mohd Azman revealed that the company and agent behind the housing fraud initiated their activities in 2019, offering three schemes to potential victims with most of them coming across these schemes via a Facebook account linked to the company.
“The suspects initially offered a scheme to construct houses on the victims’ own land. The second scheme involved finding a suitable site to build houses for the buyers, while the third scheme entailed a real estate investment, with victims required to make a certain payment in exchange for promised dividends.
“Interested parties met with the suspects, who claimed they would find developers and contractors to build their houses,” he explained.
All the deals, Mohd Azman added, were conducted using cash or money transfers to the suspect company’s bank account.
The victims only realised they had been scammed when the housing construction failed to materialise.
A taskforce has been established to conduct a thorough investigation into all police reports filed in Sarawak.
Mohd Azman advised the public not to engage with such offers on social media without verifying their legality.
“When encountering such offers, please inform or share them with your spouse, friends, or family members. Furthermore, exercise caution and avoid trusting housing construction offers from unknown individuals or companies without verifying their legality before making any payments,” he emphasised.
This fraudulent case came to light following Hishamuddin’s visit to the Sarawak Police Headquarters, during which he delivered letters and documents related to the scam to Mohd Azman and discussed the case.
Hishamuddin also revealed that there have been more than 500 such cases recorded nationwide, resulting in losses of RM500 million, with Sarawak accounting for the highest number of cases. — DayakDaily