I bought a land banking product and was given an option to sell back the product after on year at the original cost plus X%. After completing this period, I gave notice to redeem the product according to the terms. The land banking firm did not pay the money back to me. A few other investors were caught in the same situation. We made a complaint to the Commercial Affairs Department, but were told to see a lawyer as this is a civil case. Can we ask the CAD to investigate if the company were cheating us?
Cheating is defined in the Penal Code of Singapore as follows:
Cheating – Whoever, by deceiving any person, fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to consent that any person shall retain any property, or intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to do anything which he or she would not do or omit if he or she were not so deceived, and which act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property, is said to "cheat". For example, A cheats if he intentionally deceives Z into a belief that A means to repay any money that Z may lend to him when A does not intend to repay it, and thereby dishonestly induces Z to lend him money.
At the time of selling the product, the land banking firm might not have any intent to cheat. They may have some reason now to be unable to honor the option to repay the investment, or may have some liquidity problem. This is probably the reason why CAD is not pursuing the matter as a cheating case, and has advised you to consult a lawyer to take civil action.
However, if the land banking firm, knowing that they are not able to fulfill its commitment for repay the investments to earlier investors due to liquidity problem and continues to market similar products to new investors with similar promises, it can be argued that they intend to cheat the new investors. You can bring this matter to the attention of CAD