Friday, October 29, 2010

Land banking and law firm

Dear Mr. Tan
I invested $80,000 in a land banking product with a guaranteed return of 12% after one year. The company did not pay back the return and gave a lot of excuses for the delay. They have now closed their office and left Singapore. What can I do?

The lawyer acting for the land banking company is a big reputable firm in Singapore, well connected with the government. Why did the law firm act for such a shady company? Can the law firm be held responsible, if the land banking company is actually operating a scam? Surely the law firm knew about what was happening and actually helped the land banking company to avoid being caught legally in Singapore?

I am not an expert on such matters. I believe that the Commercial Affairs Department is now investigating into '
this matter. I hope that they will look into the possibility that the law firm had acted in cohoots with the land banking company or if they were morally and ethically questinable. Although the law firm wanted to earn the large fees, they should not lend their reputation to shady or doubtful practices or to an investment scam.


Jp69 said...

I would hope that when the CAD completes their investigation that the law firm and the accounting firm are named as part of their report. Also any companies or individuals that took significant amounts of money to promote or advertise this company should be named.

Spur said...

The sad thing is that investors had been complaining to SPF, CAD, and MAS for at least a few years, but nothing much was done. It required aggrieved investors to take matters into their own hands, staging a demonstration in front of their office, confronting the "boss", and calling in the press & tabloids before something concrete was even started. By the time MAS put them on their watchlist and CAD started confiscating their computers and records and investigate, the perps already had their exit plans ready. Even so, they still had a recent court case against them dismissed by one of the "Boron" investor --- the court deemed that the contract was with another party. The firm in Singapore was just a middleman executing the transaction, and thus an outside 3rd-party to the contract and not bound by the contractual terms to pay the "guaranteed" interest and the principal amount.

From this & many other anecdotal evidence, it can be seen that Singapore's business and consumer protection laws are very weak. Companies can get away with many predatory, obfuscation, and high pressure sales tactics, and yet are still within legal boundaries and following the letter of the Singapore law.

yujuan said...

People who lost money in investments should know by now to believe only themselves, and no one else, not even anything remotely connected with our Govt.
A NTUC Income executive, not an agent on Commission basis, told me
to invest your own money yourself, not place it in the hands of other people, explaining that there are no morals and integrity in a modern society like Singapore.
He further added what do you expect
when two casinos, in the same categories as other sin businesses,
are permitted here.
Thus, not all people connected with insurance are cheats, just talk to the right people, those that are not commission based. But form your own judgement.
Here in Singapore, everything is GDP growth super, sometimes safer to send money to invest abroad in places where there are consumer protection. In Singapore, consumers are entirely on their own, don't expect any least bit of help from the Govt, because you go in with your eyes wide open, so don't blame the Govt - MM Lee's words. Keep his words closely at heart.
Have extra cash does not mean you must invest in anything that comes your way, cheats are allowed to set up shop here easily. If I want to be a cheat, will definitely come to Singapore to be a fly by night operator, there is easy money to make in Singapore.

AC said...

How come CAD didn't take action in the mini bond saga? To me, selling risky land and risky structured products are similar. Both sellers claimed to be just middle men, however the land companies have to close shop and run, but not the financial .institutions. The FIs are still around behaving as if they have done nothing wrong. It's all the fault of consumers. Why the double standard?

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