The New Taipei City District Court has sentenced Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) New Taipei City Councilor Wang Shu-hui (王淑慧) to nine years in jail and revoked her right to vote for five years, after finding her guilty of illegally appropriating more than NT$3 million (US$108,601) in government wages over an 11-year period.
Wang had fraudulently claimed NT$3.35 million since Dec. 25, 2010, by listing relatives as office staff to collect their wages and other government subsidies, the court said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the sentence can be appealed.
During the first session of the New Taipei City Council, held from Dec. 25, 2010, to Dec. 24, 2014, Wang paid partial salaries to her publicly funded assistant Lin Yung-lai (林永瀨) and held the bank accounts of her nieces Wang Shih- yuan (王世媛) and Hsieh Ming-min (謝明旻), who were listed as assistants without performing any work for her, the court said.
Lin instructed another of Wang Shu-hui’s publicly funded assistants, Wei Ke-shu (魏可舒), to draft falsified documents to submit to the New Taipei City Council, which enabled Wang Shu-hui to illegally pocket NT$520,000, the court said.
During the second and current sessions of the New Taipei City Council, beginning on Dec. 25, 2014, Wang Shu-hui illegally claimed NT$2.09 million and NT$730,000 in publicly funded assistant and Lunar New Year allowances respectively, the court said.
In her defense, Wang Shu-hui said that Wang Shih-yuan and Hsieh were her personal Internet publicists, responsible for collecting public opinion and online comments.
However, she failed to show any evidence of their work, it said.
Furthermore, Wang Shu-hui collected the publicly funded allowances, which indicates that the bank accounts of Wang Shih-yuan and Hsieh were falsified accounts, the court said.
The matter led the court to write in its verdict that Wang Shu-hui took the money, despite having a relatively high government salary.
After stepping down as a lawmaker in 2008, Wang Shu-hui was elected as a New Taipei City councilor in 2010, and her grassroots work has been praised by local supporters, local media have said.
She was sentenced to four-and-a-half years, five years and another four years and six months, for a total of nine years, with her right to vote suspended for five years, the court said.
Wang Shih-yuan’s accomplices — Hsieh, Lin and Wei — were sentenced to two years in jail, the court said, adding that they can appeal.
Those sentences were suspended for five years, but the four defendants must pay a fine of NT$100,000, attend four sessions of legal education classes and have their voting rights suspended for one year, the court added.
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