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Rent scam: Mom free, daughter behind bars

Picture for illustrative purpose. The daughter allegedly forged the flat’s ownership documents in her mother’s name and acted as a real state broker (GETTY IMAGES)

By Eman Al Baik

Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced the mother-daughter duo accused of forging ownership documents of an apartment and renting it out to an Australian man for Dh139,250.

AS, 32, has been sentenced to a one-year jail term and thereafter be deported, while her mother LM has been acquitted due to lack of evidence. 

The mother, a fugitive, pretended to be the owner of the flat and the daughter allegedly forged the flat’s ownership documents in her mother’s name and acted as a real state broker.

Subsequently, DA, 29, Australian, called the mobile number of the 'real estate broker' seen in the advt and spoke to the daughter who called herself 'Christina'.

He signed the deal on the documents, which had the signature of LM and handed over three cheques and received the lease papers, photocopy of the 'owner's' passport and three copies of the flat's key. He also paid the accused Dh3,000 for utility services including electricity connection.

A few days later, however, he was shocked to find the flat's lock replaced. He called 'Christina' and asked her to sent across a technician to reset the lock. But when he entered the flat, he disovered four TV sets.

He shifted them to one room and informed the security personnel of the building. He also left his mobile number with the guard. Very soon he got a call from Ahmed, who introduced himeslf as the owner of the flat.

This time DA contacted Christina and after recounting his experience asked her which company she worked for. But when he contacted Link Up, he was told that there was nobody by the name Christina employed there. In fact, he never got to speak with the 'broker' thereafter as Chrisrina's mobile phone was unreachable.

DA lodged a complaint with the police and handed over the lease documents. Khalid Marzouqi, policeman, said the apartment was registered in the name of LM, who is the mother of AS, 32, - the fake broker Christina.

AS confessed to the accusation before the police. She admitted that she obtained the lease contract through the internet and forged the ownership documents. She also told the police that she had collected the cheques and sent the money to Russia and that she only had Dh5,000 left with her.

However, police found Dh90,000 in her account with Emirates Bank. They immediately froze the account and seized her ATM card.

The accused's computer, which was seized, showed more fraud.

Police found purchase deals of an Emaar property unit, where the names of the original buyers were deleted and replaced with the names of buyers.

Copies with signatures of unidentified people have also been found in AS's possession. Police also found forged copies of deals involving Al Habtoor property purchases.

The accused confessed forging the documents and conning the complainant.