An Indian-origin man was charged in a Singapore court on Thursday for cheating two others of SGD 1.6 million (around USD 1.1 million) under a timeshare recovery scheme that was linked to a payout agency in Bangalore. Murlidharan Muhundan, 45, faces 21 charges of cheating, two charges of abetting cheating and another two charges of attempted cheating, according to a report by The Straits Times.
He is alleged to have cheated Chinese-origin Ooi Phaik Cheng and Indian-origin Marimuthu Therumalai in the timeshare recovery fraud. Murlidharan deceived Ooi on 13 occasions into believing that “Bhagyam Agencies Bangalore” would provide a payout for her timeshare agreement, the broadsheet reported, citing court documents. She was duped into paying Murlidharan sums ranging from SGD 5,000 (USD 3,619) to SGD 100,000 (USD 72,391) between July 2020 and January last year.
Murlidharan also allegedly deceived Marimuthu on 12 occasions, including making him believe that he had to pay a fine of SGD 250,000 (USD 1,80,979) for taking photos at an office in Collyer Quay in November last year.
Marimuthu was also deceived into paying between SGD 20,000 (USD 14,478) and SGD 150,000 (USD 1,08,587) to Murlidharan between July and November last year to receive payouts from his timeshare agreement, according to the Singapore daily report. Those convicted of any of these offences face an imprisonment term of up to 10 years and a fine.
On Thursday, the police urged members of the public to be vigilant when receiving unsolicited calls from companies or individuals purporting to help them recover monies from their timeshare memberships.
Individuals are advised to be wary when someone calls them regarding their timeshare membership. They should refrain from providing any personal information or details on their timeshare membership to the caller. They are also urged to conduct background checks on the company’s track record before engaging its services and request a copy of the documentation on its proposals, representations, contracts and agreements.
The police also advised the public to be wary if the company is reluctant to provide documentation. They should check with the timeshare developer if the company had dealt with the former in the recovery of timeshare membership fees, and exercise extra caution if asked to make upfront payments.