Taipei police are investigating allegations that a self-styled “investment guru” has fled Taiwan after making NT$2.5 billion (US$80.89 million) on claims of the sale of gold in India.
Investigators said that Wang Pai-hung (王派宏), 41, was previously in the real-estate business, but since last year had been promoting gold transactions in India, promising “guaranteed profits of 20 to 36 percent” per year.
Wang told potential investors that he used a proprietary business method, and had operations abroad to grind gold into powder and the international connections to legally transport gold powder to India, where it could be sold at high prices, as gold and gold jewelery are popular as heirlooms and a hedge against currency fluctuations in that nation, investigators said.
Wang had previously called himself an “investment guru” specializing in the real-estate market and had held seminars for more than a decade in cities across Taiwan about buying old houses and apartments for profit, investigators said.
A man surnamed Lin (林) said that Wang operated Top One Education Consulting Co, which organized the seminars, with people signing up as members of business programs run by Top One to attend.
As a member, he heard Wang touting “gold powder sales” in May last year, Lin said.
“Other members and I were enticed by up to 36 percent profit with a 3 percent bonus each month,” Lin told reporters. “Wang explained the business model in detail and as it seemed to be running well, the promise of high returns was attractive.”
“I put in NT$7.5 million initially and received the 3 percent monthly bonus. So I invested NT$2.5 million in August last year, then NT$2 million in December. In March, I put in another NT$2 million for a total of NT$14 million,” he said.
“However, now we hear that Wang has disappeared with all our money and cannot be contacted,” Lin said. “It is shocking news for us, I still cannot believe our trusted investment guru would vanish like this.”
“My blood pressure shot up and I had to take medication. I have hardly eaten or slept for the past few days, as the money was my life’s savings or bank loans, on which I have to pay a high monthly interest,” he said.
Complaints against Wang have been filed in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan and other cities, with more than 1,000 people, most of them are Taiwanese, affected, investigators said.
People who know Wang said that he and his wife have not been seen since Friday last week.
The couple have fled Taiwan, as they planned, as police found Top One Education Consulting shut down with staff nowhere to be found, the people said.
A woman surnamed Huang (黃) said that she and her friends had borrowed money from relatives to participate in the gold scheme.
They invested because they had done so through Wang for long time, they said, adding that they are now in dire financial difficulty.
The Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said that people affected could register complaints with local police and press charges of fraud so prosecutors could step in.
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