The Taipei District Court yesterday convicted a couple at the center of a case involving NT$47.2 billion (US$1.66 billion) of defaulted loans from 12 banks — touted as Taiwan’s largest-ever bank fraud case — and sentenced them to more than 20 years in prison.
Yang Wen-hu (楊文虎) and his wife, Wang Ying-chih (王音之), co-owners of Taipei-based New Site Industries (NSI), were sentenced to 26 years and 28 years respectively, while 34 of their employees and other people charged with colluding with them received shorter sentences, mostly less than four years.
It was the first ruling and can still be appealed.
The couple was found guilty of breaches of provisions in the Banking Act (銀行法) and the Money Laundering Control Act (洗錢防制法) on defrauding, as well as other charges.
The court is also requiring Yang to pay back NT$600 million and Wang to pay back NT$650 million.
Cooperation from US law enforcement helped in extraditing the couple back to Taiwan earlier this year.
In June 2019, after the investigation was launched, the couple fled to the US to evade prosecution, but Yang was returned in January last year and Wang in March.
NSI traded internationally in petrochemicals, plastics and textiles, as well as fabric and industrial polyester products, but investigators found that the couple had set up shell companies in China and other countries so that they could generate fake transaction records and fund transfers to defraud banks.
Investigators found that in 2010, the couple and other company executives began to falsify company financial reports and forge company checks.
The defendants generated more than 1,000 false transaction records to obtain NT$38.6 billion in loans from nine banks — Taiwan Business Bank, DBS Bank, O-Bank Co, Yuanta Commercial Bank, First Commercial Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, E.Sun Commercial Bank, Hua Nan Commercial Bank and Mega International Commercial Bank — before defaulting on the loans, they said.
Prosecutors said that in 2008 and 2009, they generated 633 false transaction records to obtain NT$8.6 billion in loans from three other banks — CTBC Bank, Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank and Land Bank of Taiwan — before defaulting on the loans.
“Yang and Wang were found to have instructed firm executives and employees how to generate false financial records, as well as how to issue fake invoices, shipping documents, company checks and other documents,” the court’s decision said. “Together with colluding firms and contractors, they deceived a total of 12 banks with false business activities to obtain NT$47.2 billion in bank loans.”
“To this date, NSI still has more than NT$430 million in outstanding debts — funds that were spent on operation costs, along with real-estate deals and other investments, allowing the couple’s family to live a life of luxury with extravagant spending,” it said.
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