Used-car dealer jailed 11 months for cheating

After deceiving a customer into believing he was the owner of a second-hand Audi S5, used-car dealer Teo Huat Bee kept the title to the car for himself and used it to obtain a loan of over $46,000.

When he failed to repay the loan, the car was repossessed from the new owner, who ended up paying a hefty sum to get his car back.

Teo, 42, was yesterday sentenced to 11 months' jail for one count of cheating.

The sole proprietor of used-car dealership Vest Carz Motoring had agreed to sell the Audi S5 to Mr Chua Chee Khoon for $57,000, but had in fact planned to retain ownership of the car for himself and use it as security for a loan.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tow Chew Chi said that in March last year, Mr Chua saw an advertisement by the dealership offering the car for sale.

After signing an agreement with Teo, Mr Chua paid $24,061.92 in cash and traded in his old Audi A4 - valued at $35,000 - to the firm, said DPP Tow. The sum included an additional $2,061.92 for insurance.

Teo then sent Mr Chua's old car to be scrapped and obtained $35,000 in the process.

Assuring the victim that ownership of the title to the Audi S5 had been transferred to him, Teo handed the keys over to the unsuspecting Mr Chua.

But Teo had retained the title to the car and used the vehicle as security to obtain a $46,312.50 loan from leasing service Fuyo Leasing, said DPP Tow.He then used the loan for his car business.

However, he failed to make repayments on the loan, prompting Fuyo Leasing to exercise its legal right to repossess the vehicle - which, at that time, was in the possession of Mr Chua.

As a result, the car was towed away in September last year. - ILYDA CHUA