A local woman was arrested on Thursday for cheating a female civil servant out of about MOP 1.04 million (US$130,000) to purchase two properties in the UK, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Ho Chan Nam said during a regular press conference on Friday.
The 45-year-old suspect surnamed Lo told the police that she works as a catering manager.
According to Ho, the 34-year-old victim met Lo in the UK in 2016 and became friends. Lo returned to Macao in March 2018 and convinced the victim in September 2018 to buy a property in the UK, promising her a high return on her investment. Lo also claimed that she could sell half of the property for £67,000 (MOP 660,216 at Sunday’s exchange rate) to the victim. After the victim had paid the money, Lo convinced her to buy another unit for £43,000, which she did.
Ho said the victim was not able to receive any follow-up news and contacted Lo in January last year but could not get any information from her about the two property deals. The victim travelled to the UK in May and tried to find the lawyer who purportedly handled the two property deals. Lo continued to come up with various excuses and the victim was unable to get in touch with the lawyer. After returning to Macao, the victim did a property search and discovered that the two properties were not registered in Lo’s name. She also discovered that the two purported property sales were not officially registered.
According to Ho, the victim finally realised that she had been deceived and reported the case to the police in February this year. Police officers arrested Lo at her home in Rua do Almirante Costa Cabral on Thursday and found a sale and purchase agreement in the flat. However, the agreement had never been sent to the UK and no transactions had been processed. Ho said the police suspect that Lo merely arranged the bogus agreement with the victim to gain her trust. Police officers also discovered that Lo did not own any property in the UK, and the “lawyer” did not work in the UK law firm mentioned by Lo.
Lo has been transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) for further investigation, facing a fraud charge involving a considerable amount, officially defined as exceeding MOP 150,000, according to Ho.