Mon, Jul 30, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Authorities thwart sports betting investment scam

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Judicial authorities have summoned 17 people for questioning in an ongoing investigation into an investment scam involving Argyll Technologies Group (雅格瑞科技集團), a sports arbitrage betting company whose Taiwanese operators are alleged to have made about NT$1.5 billion (US$49.03 million) in illegal profits over the past year.

Several police officers were allegedly involved in the scam, luring in colleagues, friends and family members with the promise of profits as high as 180 percent on annual returns, Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau officials said yesterday.

The suspects have been charged with breaching the Banking Act (銀行法) and the Multi-Level Marketing Supervision Act (多層次傳銷管理法), and some have been charged with money laundering, the officials said.

The New Taipei District Court yesterday approved the detention of six suspects: Chen Chih-piao (陳志標), the reported proprietor of Argyll Technologies in Taiwan; Argyll regional sales director Hung Ming-chiu (洪明秋); Argyll regional manager Chou Wan-jung (周宛瑢); Argyll employee Lin Yu-tong (林宥彤); Taoyuan police officer Huang Wen-huang (黃文煌); and a Tibetan man identified as Tenzing Charlie, who allegedly worked as an underground currency exchange operator in Taiwan.

With bureau and other judiciary units, New Taipei prosecutors on Friday raided 24 locations, including the Argyll offices, seizing evidence and property that included NT$87.94 million in cash and NT$41.25 million in cryptocurrencies, as well as luxury cars and expensive watches.

Last year, Chen started to promote investment schemes through Argyll, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, and claimed to place bets with various sports gaming agencies that yielded 100 percent winnings, the investigation bureau said.

Offering buy-ins of NT$33,000 to NT$1.65 million with annual returns as high as 180 percent to investors, Chen and his staff allegedly attracted more than 1,000 people to invest in what bureau officials said amounts to a multi-level Ponzi scheme.

During the FIFA World Cup, they offered a special package to investors, allowing them to bet on game results using Argyll’s in-house data analytics technology and promising a 40 percent return, as well as another “leveraged loan” scheme that offered a return five times the original investment amount, the investigation showed.

The schemes began to unravel when Chen had cash flow problems and could not pay out the promised returns, the bureau said.

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