Police officials on Wednesday said that they had arrested four Taiwanese fraud suspects for allegedly promising high returns on property investments in Malaysia.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said that officers raided seven locations in Taipei, Taoyuan and Taichung on Monday and arrested the four suspects.
The operation was allegedly headed by Lee Mu-yun (李牧耘), 38, the bureau said, adding that the four were questioned by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.
Photo copied by Huang Chieh, Taipei Times
Lee allegedly launched a Web site for a company called ANB Group in 2016, through which he sought investments in Malaysian property development schemes, CIB officials said, adding that about 300 people invested a combined NT$1 billion (US$32.36 million).
Lee and the other suspects told potential investors that they were working with M101 Group, a leading developer of residential and hotel properties in Malaysia, which attracted Taiwanese, said Chang Chao-hsiung (張詔雄) of the International Criminal Affairs Division.
The suspects had brochures and online information presenting themselves as “ANB & M101 Group,” while Lee said that he had a good relationship with M101 Group founder and chief executive officer Datuk Seth Yap Ting Hau, Chang said.
ANB advertising and brochures promoted investment in M101 Group projects for new four-star hotels, tourism properties and residential towers, Chang said, adding that they claimed to be able to gain annual returns of 348 percent.
The suspects organized tours for investors to Malaysia to visit sites that Lee claimed were ANB-M101 developments, but that was part of the subterfuge, Chang said.
The CIB launched a probe of ANB after receiving reports from investors, with investigators finding that it had no links to M101 and most of the money remained under Lee’s control in Taiwan or had been transferred to overseas bank accounts, Chang said.
“Lee has a background in fintech and had established several offshore bank accounts and set up WoPay e-wallet accounts for investors to use,” Chang said. “Lee paid small amounts and bonuses to investors from another registered company under his name to gain their trust and keep the investment money coming in.”
During the raids, officers confiscated six computers, 14 mobile phones, account books and other documents, along with NT$1.9 million in cash, the CIB said, adding that assets of Lee’s estimated to be worth a combined NT$176 million were also seized.
Prosecutors said they intend to indict Lee and the other suspects on fraud and money laundering charges, along with breaches of the Banking Act (銀行法).
People should study overseas investment opportunities carefully and not place large funds into schemes on promises of a high rate of return within a short period, or promises of bonuses and rewards, as fraud has seen some lose all of their investment, CIB officials said.
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