Fri, Nov 03, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Supreme Court upholds convictions for fraudsters

By Hsiang Ting-chen and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld guilty verdicts for Hung Pai-li (洪百里) and Lai Lung-ying (賴瀧瀅), who operated a Ponzi scheme involving Lan Chin Technologies Co (藍金科技) and other companies they founded.

The court maintained Hung’s five-year prison sentence and Lai’s 22-month jail term for defrauding investors of NT$2 billion (US$66.3 million).

The court also upheld convictions for attorneys Lee Ching-feng (李慶豐) and Chen Te-feng, who were each sentenced to two years in prison and five years of probation for aiding and abetting fraud.

Lee and Chen certified contracts drawn by Hung and Lai, despite knowing they were illegal, the court said, adding that they must return a total of NT$720,000 in certification fees.

The court’s ruling is final and cannot be appealed.

In 2007 and 2008, Hung and Lai founded Lan Chin and other companies for the purpose of defrauding investors, falsely claiming that sales of deep-sea water guaranteed an 18.25 percent to 20 percent return on investment, which attracted an estimated NT$2 billion from 2,320 people, the court said in its ruling.

In July and August 2008, they stopped paying interest to investors, who suffered grievous financial hardship, it said.

Hung and Lai’s Ponzi scheme should have been obvious to Lee and Chen, who certified or verified the contracts that Hung and Lai drew up for NT$200 to NT$400 each, charging a total of about NT$720,000, it added.

The legal intent of the Banking Act (銀行法) is to maintain order in the nation’s financial system and protect the public from fraud, meaning severe punishment was required for Hung and Lai, the court said.

Additionally, the legal protection afforded lawyers for doing their work does not supersede their obligations to the act, and Lee and Chen should be held accountable for their role in the scheme, it said.

Asked for comment, a senior judge said the Taiwan Bar Association would likely discipline Chen and Lee.

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