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Pattaya Daily News

Hilton
18 November 2009 :: 22:11:10 pm 1956

Scam Alert: Condo Stealing on the Rise

This is the account of a foreigner who through trusting 3rd parties too much has had to pay a heavy price. He wants to remain anonymous, so for the purposes of this article we’ll call him Fred. Fred came to Pattaya and, like many others, thought he’d take advantage of the relatively low prices in the property market at the time and began to make substantial investments in condominiums.
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He began by making enquiries among the various property agents in Pattaya with a view to selling some of his condo purchases. After some time, he actually found one, Ahmed aka Ashley, an Indian, that he considered of good character as he had worked full-time for various prominent real estate agents and on a part-time basis for others and had the reputation of being a top-rank salesman. Over a period of two years, Fred developed a very close, trusting relationship with Ashley, who acting as the agent-of-sale, sold at least 10 condos to Fred, including three condos in A.D. House Condominium in Naklua. As part of the deal, Ashley promised to do his best to sell on some of Fred’s condos, which he never did.
(Ahmed aka Ashley and his wife.)

However, over time, Fred began to have grave doubts about Ashley, not least because Ashley was inclined to borrow substantial sums from him, many of which he increasingly grew reluctant to repay. He would come to Fred complaining of various calamities which had happened to him, trying, successfully as it transpired, to arouse Fred’s sympathies and so managed to borrow a substantial amount from Fred over time. It eventually got to the stage where Ashley owed Fred ½ million baht, with no sign of repayment, despite many requests from Fred. The relationship eventually became so acrimonious that Fred decided to cut all dealings with Ashley, particularly allowing Ashley to sell condos for him.

Fred then decided to go to see his friend up in Kanchanaburi, telling one of the admin staff at his condo in Soi Pattaya Park by the name of Songsak that various agents were likely to come round to see his condo there and asked Songsak if he would mind accompanying any of these agents up to the condo in the event that they brought any prospects round. This Songsak agreed to do and Fred duly gave Songsak the key to his condo to allow him to carry out the arrangement.

How did it happen?

Now in Fred’s three week absence, Ashley brought a number of prospective buyers round to see Fred’s condo. As Fred hadn’t told Songsak about the deterioration of his and Ashley’s relationship and that he no longer trusted him, Songsak didn’t know to take particular precautions with Ashley. Songsak accompanied Ashley up to the condo, each time, but on the last occasion, presumably because he thought Ashley was trustworthy, or merely because he just couldn’t be bothered, Songsak gave Ashley the key and allowed him to view the condo with his prospect, unaccompanied. After a short while, Ashley came down, returned the key to Songsak and left.

When Fred returned to Pattaya he didn’t think to ask Songsak about any agents’ visits. It was only after four days when he had been drinking in a bar with a friend that Fred grew apprehensive. In their conversation in the bar, the friend happened to ask Fred if he knew that Ashley, whom they both knew, had left the country, having ripped off a considerable number of prominent real estate agents before he left. Initially, Fred’s concern was for the Bt500,000 debt that Ashley owed him, but then he had a nasty intuition, what if Ashley had visited his condo in his absence?

Fred rushed home and immediately asked Songsak if Ashley had been round while he was away. Songsak confirmed that he had and that significantly he had not accompanied Ashley up to the condo on the last occasion. With increasing dread, Fred rushed up to his condo and went straight to the place of safekeeping where he kept the title deeds to his condos. To Fred’s horror, he found that out of a number of title deeds kept in his condo, three were missing; co-incidentally these were the deeds to the three condos in A.D. House Condominium in Naklua that Ashley had actually sold him for Bt3.5 million earlier in the year. Also in the pile of documents was another bunch which had been prepareedd in order to buy a car, containing a copy of Fred’s passport, this too was missing!

It struck Fred that Ashley may well have been hatching his devious plans for quite some time, so much so that he might well have kept significant details about all the condos he had sold over the period of his working for the various real estate agents, as well as Fred. He might even, Fred surmised, have made copies of the keys to these condos! It was then that Fred decided to go and see his Thai lawyer, the one who had conducted various transactions for Fred in the past, including the three AD House condos. Fred asked his lawyer to visit the Land Department to see if anyone had bought any of these three condos and to follow the paper trail if they had been sold.

After an inordinate amount of time, six weeks in actuality, the lawyer came back to Fred and told him he’d been to the Land Department and had found out that, yes, the three AD House condos had in fact been sold, producing a Power of Attorney document, ostensibly giving one Abbas Raza, on behalf of Fred, the authorization to sell the three condos to Ashley for Bt2.5 million, whose address was listed as being at one of the condos being sold (an illogical irregularity) and whose parents were stated as being identical to those of Fred! In addition, the official title at the top of the page was blanked out.

The lawyer also produced the copy of a Belgian passport (name withheld), supposedly a new buyer who Ashley had ostensibly sold the three condos on to. This left Fred totally frustrated, so he decided at this time to go and see PDN, who he had heard helped people in distress.

In the company of a PDN representative to act as translator, Fred then went to the Land Department to tell them of the effective theft of the title deeds and the misrepresentation involved.

Here, the lady who dealt with transactions in the Naklua area, who one might have thought should have been helpful, was not. She was reluctant, complaining that this was a job for a lawyer, but was eventually persuaded by the PDN representative, who pointed out that the real owner, Fred, was present. She then finally allowed them to see the documentation relating to the three condos, but not in a well-mannered way, merely thrusting the large file at them and telling them to find whatever papers they needed. This wasn’t exactly easy as the space was cramped and the counter top narrow. The lady then began to grow irritable and began to hassle the PDN representative to hurry up.

Despite being hassled, the PDN representative was fortunate enough to get a copy of the original supposed Power of Attorney document and, conveniently, another Power of Attorney document, dated two days hence, selling on the condos to a Swedish person by the name of Stani Depachi, whose address was listed at one of the other three condos that were being sold (an illogical irregularity once again); no mention of any Belgian!

This new Power of Attorney document gave a certain Thai man (name withheld), the right to act on Stani Depachi’s behalf to buy the condos, this time for Bt2.85 million.

Ashley was listed as having been the owner of the condos for a period of one year; very strange considering that the Land Department representative was the same in both cases and would have obviously known that Ashley had only just bought the condos in question.

The pair then left the Land Department and went to report the matter to the police.

The PDN representative asked a poor lowly policeman to recommend a higher up who could be trusted and was duly given the name of Pol. Lt. Col. Wanllop. He took all the details and told the pair that the matter was no longer a civil but a criminal case, which effectively means that no more transactions on the condos are possible while the case is active. Fred is optimistic that when the court studies all the facts, they will return ownership to him.

Anyone having any knowledge or interest in this case is encouraged to contact PDN’s lawyer at the following
E-mail: mayday_director@gmail.com

Warina Punyawan
Editor-In-Chief

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Last Features :

Real Estate Sale & Investment Pitfalls in Thailand

Real Estate is a very high value industry and as such, unfortunately, in Thailand this makes investors at an increasingly higher risk to scam artists and fraudulent buyer & sellers. Honest people entering into a real estate transaction in Thailand are all too frequently unaware of the inherent risk, often getting cheated out of their hard earned money or have the property, in effect, stolen from under their noses.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Legal

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