Thieves and Liars
How I Was Ripped Off by Chantel Sim and Stuart Seah
Ms. Chantel Sim, also known as Mrs. Chantel Seah
Mr. Stuart Seah
Last known address in Bali: Villa 17A, Villa Complex in Jl. Merta Sari, off the continuation of Jl. Patih Jelantik east of Jl. Sunset.
Associated Companies involved
Orange Global Enterprise Pte Ltd
Manager listed as: Ms. Chantel Sim, also Mrs. Chantel Seah
Street : 158 Kallang Way, 03-543
Also Shugar & Co. Pte Ltd, listed at the same address in Singapore and also at 25 Seah St, Singapore, 188381, Phone 65 6 338 9128, Mobile 659 366 8574, Fax 65 6 484 3464
The facts of what happened
In March 2009, Chantel Sim and her husband Stuart Seah, both Singapore residents who also spend time living in Bali and operating a business, lease a house at Jl. Bunut Sari, Legian, Bali from the Balinese owner. The lease is signed by Stuart Seah despite all negotiations being conducted by Chantel.
Chantel Sim subsequently decides not to continue with her lease and sublets the fully-furnished house to me for 200,000,000 rupiah for 12 months commencing 10 June 2009. The sublease is signed by Chantel’s husband, Stuart Seah, in the presence of witnesses. I agree to continue employing the English-speaking maid, pool man and gardener.
However, before I arrive to take up residence, the owner contacts Chantel, informing her that she can not legally sublet to me for 12 months as she has already used up 3 months of her 12 month lease. He asks Chantel to notify me immediately and renegotiate my sublease term for 9 months at 150,000,000 rupiah.
Chantel ignores this request and instead contacts me to request that 200,000,000 Rupiah be transferred not to her, but to her Singaporean company account – Orange Global Enterprise Pte Ltd. I transfer the money as requested, unaware of the 9 month lease stipulation by the house owner.
After the money is transferred, Chantel makes me aware of the problem. An agreement is reached whereas a new sublease of 9 months duration will be drawn up and signed upon my arrival in Bali to take possession of the property.
It is further agreed that the ‘excess’ 50,000,000 will be held in trust by Chantel Sim and used to pay outgoings for the house such as maid’s salary, electricity, phone/internet, gardener, pool maintenance person and for other purposes as required by me. It is agreed that a monthly accounting shall be kept by Chantel and that all receipts for expenses be forwarded to me. It was also agreed that the balance of the funds, if not already withdrawn by me, would be returned to me at the end of the lease period.
On my arrival, I discovered that Chantel had:
* Removed furniture including a fridge and television (part of the villa inventory) but was forced by the owner (who owns them) to return the items
* Terminated the employment of the pool cleaner and gardener, leaving me to make my own arrangements
* Forbidden the Balinese owner to visit his property for the purpose of making offerings and to hold ceremonies at his family temple. Those of you who understand Bali culture will realise the magnitude of this insult.
* Forbidden the owner to contact me in any way without her being present
* Had replaced the maid I had interviewed and agreed to with a non-English-speaking person. The excuse given was that the original maid had to leave to go to Java because of “the death of her brother”. One week later, I discovered that the original maid has been ordered to work for Chantel at her new villa and to lie to me about the circumstances.
During the first two months of my sub-lease, no receipts for utilities payments were given to me, and I discovered that in fact, the utilities payments were being paid incorrectly and/or late.
In June, I requested that Chantel release money from the substantial funds still held “in trust” so that I could purchase a motorbike. Chantel refused, claiming that she did not have enough money. She then offered to transfer all remaining money immediately to me, an offer that she dishonoured and subsequently withdrew.
In August, without notifying me, Chantel stopped making utilities payments and defaulted on paying the maid’s salary. By the time I had discovered this, payments were well in arrears and I was being pursued by various debt-collectors and questioned by a distressed maid who had been left without any salary for an extended period.
By this stage, Chantel refused to answer any messages. Her personal assistant at first answered calls confirming that she was Chantel’s manager, but on discovering that I was the caller, claimed that she was no longer employed by her. The maid original destined for my villa (and now working for Chantel) claimed she was now back in Java and knew nothing about the situation. She was sighted in Bali the same day.
An email to Chantel was finally answered, claiming she was having ‘some problems’ and that she would deposit the remaining money into my account immediately. Further communications were not acknowledged by Chantel, and no money has been deposited into my account.
The money left in my ‘trust’ account is close to 40,000,000 rupiah. Chantel has refused to provide receipts to confirm the exact amount. To all intents and purposes, this money has been misappropriated by Chantel, and she has made no attempt to make restitution. Police are still investigating, and this investigation may well broaden into Singaporean jurisdiction.
I let the facts above speak for themselves. You can draw your own conclusions from them. I have reached mine. I think ‘misappropriation’ is such a genteel term. I am inclined to favour the term ‘stealing’, because being retired here in Bali, I have to live off my meagre savings. When someone uses my money – without my permission – and refuses to give it back, I think of it as theft.
That’s what I think – but I am not in a position to tell you what to think. But if you have any business dealings with Chantel, or her husband, or her cosmetic nail businesses Orange Global Enterprise Pte Ltd and Shugar & Co Pte Ltd, perhaps you need to ask yourself the following :
* Can I trust people who have demonstrated the type of personal and business ethics and behaviour shown in this instance?
* How likely is it that someone who has acted like this will do so again in the future – perhaps with you?
* What can I conclude about the personal honour and integrity of such people?
* Are Chantel’s companies, Orange Global Enterprise Pte Ltd and Shugar & Co Pte Ltd, which she manages (and one of which in effect received the money supposed to be held in trust for me) the type of company with which you would like to do business?