Property investor Calisa Cheong in court for rental scam

Self-styled property investor Calisa Cheong Mei Ing was back in court on Tuesday after having her mitigation plea rejected last year.

In remand since July last year, Cheong faces 74 counts of cheating tenants of rent money and obtaining credit as an undischarged bankrupt.

When she appeared in the subordinate courts last October, the 40-year-old told the court she had wanted to plead guilty so as to fast track her sentence. She wanted to resume work as soon as possible and support her four children.

The single mother, however, decided to fight her case after her mitigation plea was rejected due to her insistence on maintaining innocence and a lawyer was subsequently assigned to her by the Law Society.

But in court on Tuesday, Cheong told District Judge Toh Yung Cheong that she would be representing herself as she had discharged the Law Society’s lawyer.

One of the victims, Mr Liu Guo, a Chinese national, told the court that Cheong had told him she was the owner of a flat at Geylang Bahru.

She told him that she was then pregnant and needed money, so Mr Liu withdrew S$3,000 from his bank account and gave it to her. He also transferred another S$4,000 from his bank account to hers.

However, when Mr Liu and his wife went to view the flat, he found out that the unit belonged to an Indian family. He telephoned Cheong but she told him he should inform her first if he wanted to view the flat again.

Refuting Mr Liu’s testimony, Cheong said that she had wanted to strike a rental deal with the flat owners, but Mr Liu jumped the gun and alarmed the owners.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 4 May 2010

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