Fri, Jul 01, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Former prosecutor sentenced over compensation fraud

TURNED LAWYER:A man stole NT$17 million of farmers’ compensation funds was aware of law and the sentence is too lenient, the victims said

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Taichung Branch of the Taiwan High Court yesterday upheld a guilty verdict against a former prosecutor Yang Ming-shan (楊明山), 52, for defrauding 17 farmers out of NT$17 million (US$526,544 at current exchange rates) in government compensation funds, and sentenced him to three years and eight months in prision.

Yang’s victims said the sentence was too lenient.

“Yang was a prosecutor for the judiciary, so he is well aware of the law. Yet he used his legal expertise to defraud us of our money,” said Yen Chao-hsiung (嚴朝雄), one of the 17 farmers.

Yesterday’s verdict was final, and cannot be appealed.

However, Yang only has to serve two years and six months in jail and can commute 14 months to a fine.

Chou Hui-yi (周惠翼), 63, who owned a large tract of farmland in the area and colluded with Yang, and Tsai Wen-hui (蔡文惠), 50, an accountant who worked for Yang were also found guilty.

The litigation stemmed from a Changhua County Government expropriation of farm land around Taichung’s Chingshui Township (清水) for development projects. Compensation of NT$600 million for 120 farmers in the area was provided.

Working as a private attorney and using his credentials as a former prosecutor, Yang convinced farmers to sign contracts to facilitate the compensation process.

Yang targeted those who did not register their household in Chingshui and those who had rented out farmlands.

Yang and Chou pocketed between 10 percent and 45 percent of the compensation money, claiming legal fees and other expenses, together taking in about NT$40 million.

Yesterday’s verdict covered only the combined cases of the 17 farmers. Two separate fraud

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