Investigators yesterday said they are looking into a recent telephone fraud case in which a retired teacher was allegedly cheated of her retirement savings, totaling about NT$12 million (US$370,966).
The case, involving Hung Chi-tang (洪其棠), a retired teacher who lived in Hsinchu City, was uncovered when Hung died last month and her daughter, surnamed Tsan (詹), went to settle her mother’s financial affairs.
After examining her mother’s financial records and diary, Tsan suspected Hung was tricked into believing she was dealing with government agencies conducting an investigation into fraud.
Tsan said her mother was a sincere woman who had strong morals, which was why her mother might have believed she was cooperating with law enforcement agencies when those who called her and collected money were actually criminals impersonating prosecutors, police investigators and court clerks.
After examining her mother’s bank account details, records of purchase of gold bullion and other documents, Tsan reported the matter to the Hsinchu City police for investigation.
Tsan said she believed her mother closed nine bank accounts, taking out the deposits to convert into US dollars and buy gold bullion, handing an estimated NT$12 million to the fraudsters, who produced fraudulent court documents supposedly putting Hung’s assets into “temporary protection by the court” or “provisional seizure as evidence.”
According to Hung’s diary, she was first contacted on March 3 by a woman surnamed Chiang (江), who said she was a Hsinchu City National Health Insurance Administration official.
She allegedly told Hung she would recover stolen funds for her, claiming that someone had withdrawn NT$45,000 using Hung’s personal identity card and health insurance card.
Hung’s diary showed that she was contacted by telephone by people identifying themselves as police to ask her cooperation for investigating her case, which would help “to clear her name.”
She also received calls from a Taichung District Court “prosecutor” and a court clerk.
During these telephone calls, the officials claimed they were doing follow-up work into the case, and sent Hung a falsified court summons and falsified court requisition documents for temporary protection of Hung’s assets and for provisional seizure of her assets as evidence, Tsan quoted her mother’s diary as saying.
The fraudsters then instructed Hung to withdraw money from her bank accounts, convert it into US dollars and gold bullion, and arrange to meet them in out-of-the-way alleys to hand the assets over, Tsan alleged.
“These criminals in telecom scams are vile people with no conscience,” Tsan said.
“They cheated money from my mother like blood suckers, bleeding their victim to death,” she said.
“My mother was suffering from cancer, and then she was worried of being implicated in a fraud case, so she wanted to clear her name by cooperating with authorities, not knowing she was handing over her life’s savings to criminals,” she added.
“I oppose abolishing capital punishment. These criminals must be caught and the court must severely punish them,” Tsan said.
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