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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Estate agent jailed for Dh1 million Dubai Marina apartment con

Realtor changed title deeds to make it look like accomplice owned upmarket flats

An estate agent forged the title deeds of a Dubai Marina apartment in an attempt to con a buyer out of Dh1 million.

The Pakistani man, 44, changed the Dubai Land Department ownership documents of the owner he was selling the property to, to that of an accomplice, a 29-year-old Indian man.

Details of the con emerged as the property agent was convicted of fraud by Dubai Criminal Court and sentenced to a year in jail for fraud.

The accomplice was convicted in absentia and remains on the run.

Earlier, the court heard the estate agent met with the Indian victim, a property investor, on April 19, 2016 at the real estate agency where the agent worked. They discussed two apartments that were for sale at Marina View Towers.

“I spotted an ad about apartments in that area for sale and called the number. One of the men answered and told me he had two units and wished to sell them for Dh2.345 million,” the investor testified.

He said that he was accompanied by the two men to see both apartments.

“They unlocked the doors using keys and showed them to me. I liked them and requested documents, which they provided, then we agreed and I wrote the 29-year-old two cheques worth Dh938,080 [for one of the apartments],” said the victim.

Two days later, the court was told, the Indian defendant had cashed the cheques then stopped taking the investor’s calls.

The man told police what had happened, and later officers found he had fled the country with the cash.

The manager of the estate agency told prosecutors that the suspect was hired for his experience but worked for only a month.

“He stopped coming to the office, then we found out he had been conning customers,” said the manager, from Azerbaijan, 39.

The defendant was in court and denied charges.

He will be deported on his release and was ordered to pay Dh21,000 in compensation. The other man remains at-large.