Mohamed Yasin Bin Karuli (42) was sentenced to four years and two weeks imprisonment for running fraudulent timeshare recovery and collective investment scheme businesses.
Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a press release on Wednesday (3 July) that Mohamed Yasin came up with the idea of approaching owners of timeshare memberships and promising to help them recover monies from the termination of their memberships in return for certain fees.
According to the police, he used a company, Solution One Pte Ltd, as the vehicle for this scheme. He recruited staff, and trained them on the sales pitch to clients.
Between August 2013 and September 2015, 47 owners of timeshare memberships took up this offer from Solution One Pte Ltd, said the police.
However, the reality was that Mohamed Yasin knew that Solution One Pte Ltd had no means to do any such thing for the timeshare owners. These victims ended up paying the company $942,141.72 as supposed fees and charges and receiving nothing in return.
On 28 June 2019, Mohamed Yasin pleaded guilty to one count of Fraudulent Trading under Section 340(1) read with Section 340(5) of the Companies Act. Another person involved in running Solution One Pte Ltd with Mohamed Yasin has been charged with the same offence.
Court proceedings against this co-accused are ongoing, the police noted.
In addition, between January 2015 to July 2015, Mohamed Yasin, through his company Allied Solution Group Pte Ltd, promoted an investment scheme to finance the production of Tamil movies.
The police said that the man managed to solicit $315,237 from 18 investors. Investors were promised a return of 150% of their investment, as well as a percentage of the box office revenue. The scheme was eventually unable to pay the investors as the ticket sales were poor.
This investment scheme fell within the definition of a Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) under the Securities and Futures Act. As such, it had to fulfil certain requirements under the Act, which it did not.
On 28 June 2019, Mohamed Yasin also pleaded guilty to five counts of offering a CIS that was not authorised or recognised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) under Section 285 read with Section 331, and five counts of offering a CIS without a prospectus under Section 296 read with Section 331 of the Securities and Futures Act Chapter 289 for his role in the offer of the investment scheme. Another 21 counts under each offence were taken into consideration.
The Police advised members of the public to be vigilant when receiving unsolicited calls from companies or persons purporting to help them recover monies from their timeshare memberships. Members of the public should adopt the following precautions:
- Be wary when an unknown person calls you regarding your timeshare membership.
- Refrain from providing any personal information or information on your timeshare membership to the caller.
- Conduct background checks on the company’s track record before engaging its services.
- Check with your timeshare developer if the caller was authorised by the timeshare developer to deal with your timeshare membership.
- Request for a copy of the documentation on their proposals, representations, contracts and agreements. Be wary if the company is reluctant to provide you with such documentation.
- Exercise caution especially if you are asked to make upfront payments.
The police also advised members of the public to only invest with persons or entities who are regulated by MAS. The list of persons and entities that are regulated by MAS can be found at MAS’ Financial Institutions Directory.