RM300mil lost to land fraud

Police: Most duped from lack of due diligence

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 489 land scam cases were reported in the past three years with almost RM300mil in losses recorded, says Comm Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf (pic).

The Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director said as of May 19, 74 cases had been reported so far this year involving RM60.6mil in losses.

“From 2021 to the end of last year, we received 489 reports of land scams. The victims lost RM299.6mil,” he said when contacted.

In the latest case, a 69-year-old businessman lodged a report on the illegal transfer of ownership over three plots of land in Gombak on May 22, Comm Ramli said.

“The complainant had contacted the Gombak Land Office to check on land belonging to a family member who had passed away.

“He discovered that the ownership of the land was transferred to an unknown individual in August 2004.

“He was also shown a copy of a court order for the transfer of ownership, which when further checked with the courts turned out to be fake,” he said.

Comm Ramli said a check on the identification card number of the new owner also proved fruitless as the number did not exist.

“We are still investigating the losses suffered by the victim, and the case is classified under Section 420 of the Penal Code,” he said.

Comm Ramli said several factors have contributed to land fraud cases, including buyers’ lack of knowledge on land sales, not following procedures and laws, shortcomings of land office personnel, as well as mistakes by lawyers.

Comm Ramli said the police want the procedures for land transfer ownership to be tightened, adding that this is to enable the Land Office to be responsible for verifying the authenticity of documents submitted.

“While it could prolong the transfer of ownership, we feel it is needed to prevent fraud or scams.

“We also urge landowners to check their land’s status on a regular basis.

“Refrain from being duped by those who offer land at a price below the market value.

“Check and verify the land owner’s identity, ownership registration number, lot numbers, as well as other features including the size of the land,” he said.

Comm Ramli also did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of Land Office personnel in these scams.

“Such crimes are syndicated as they involve various individuals to ensure their success.

“We urge the public to be careful when purchasing or selling land to prevent scams,” he said.

In another development, Comm Ramli said the number of commercial crime cases increased between Jan 1 and May 19, with a total of 12,472 cases recorded.

“It showed an increase of 119 cases compared with 12,353 cases during the same period last year.

“A total of 5,846 investigation papers led to successful prosecutions.

“It represents 47% of the total cases, which is an increase compared with 5,157 prosecutions or 42% last year,’ he said.

For the week of May 13–May 19, Comm Ramli said 814 cases were recorded involving RM33.5mil in losses.

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