Wed, May 14, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Five arrested in `Congo mining' fraud scheme

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Police arrested five individuals yesterday who pretended they were diplomatic officials from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and defrauded people by encouraging them to invest in diamond mines in the African country.

Police said the main suspect, Tang Tsai-wei (唐才偉, pretended to be a DRC diplomatic official and referred to his three offices in Taipei, Taichung and Kaoshiung as the "Congo Institute in Taiwan."

Police arrested Tang, Tang's wife, Yu Chi-yu (由其玉, his brother, Tang Tsai-shun (唐才舜, and two other individuals who worked for him.

The quintet is believed to have defrauded people for more than NT$100 million (US$3.2 million) in a year, police said.

In addition to passing himself off as a Congolese official, Tang Tsai-wei also said he represented a Congolese company named AEI Mineral Group to encourage investment in diamond and copper mines in the DCR, police said.

To deceive Taiwanese investors, the suspects showed many pictures of mining projects in the DRC, while Tang Tsai-wei displayed pictures of "Congolese officials" in his office. The suspects also showed diamonds to convince the investors. Police said Tang Tsai-wei told investors that an investment of US$50,000 could generate a return of NT$6,000 every month.

Police said they had received numerous complaints since February by the investors who did not receive any money from Tang.

More than 100 people have been defrauded, police said, with most of them making investments of between NT$400,000 and NT$500,000.

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