Tue, Dec 30, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Church leader, wife accused of using charity donations

LAVISH LIFESTYLE:The couple allegedly began to transfer millions of NT dollars into their own accounts in 2006, buying property in China and cars

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

A Greater Taoyuan church leader and his wife were detained by prosecutors on suspicion of using cash donated to their child welfare charity to fund an extravagant lifestyle.

The Greater Taoyuan District Court approved a weekend request by prosecutors to detain and hold incommunicado Chen Kung-liang (陳公亮) and his wife, Wu Hsiu-ling (吳秀玲).

Chen and his wife have been accused of embezzling more than NT$12 million (US$377,800) in public funds and charitable donations from the Hebron Humanitarian Society, which Chen founded in 2001.

The Hebron Humanitarian Society was intended to assist impoverished children and receives more than NT$10 million each year in government subsidies and public donations.

Prosecutors said Chen and his wife began to transfer millions of NT dollars into their own accounts in 2006, which allowed them to live lavishly — buying properties in China and expensive cars, and bolstering financing in Chen’s registered private company.

The investigation also uncovered more than NT$ 3 million that prosecutors said was used for the living expenses and tuition fees of Chen’s two daughters, who studied in the US, as well as other transfers for the family’s mortgage and monthly insurance fees.

Prosecutors alleged that Chen appointed his father, uncle and other relatives to serve as board members and supervisors. These were unpaid positions in the society’s charter. However, officials said the probe found that Chen paid his relatives “consulting fees” of up to NT$25,000 per month out of the society’s account.

Several of Chen’s friends, including former New Party legislator Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大), yesterday defended the couple as innocent of wrongdoing.

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