Taiwanese company director gets life sentence for virtual gold trading fraud

By Bao Ha   December 15, 2017 | 11:13 pm PT
His company was found to have appropriated nearly $10.8 million from more than 700 people.

A court in Hanoi sentenced a Taiwanese man to life imprisonment on Friday for appropriating properties through swindling using an illegal virtual gold trading floor.

Hsu Ming Jung (also known as Saga), 42, former director of Khai Thai Investment Consultant Company, was found guilty of conning more than 700 investors out of nearly VND270 billion ($10.8 million) through his company.

Six of Hsu's Vietnamese accomplices at the company, including branch directors and the head accountant, were also sentenced to between 4 and 20 years in prison for knowingly assisting him in the crime.


Hsu and his accomplices at the trial. Photo by VnExpress/Bao Ha

According to the indictment, after its founding in 2011, Khai Thai Company did not operate in its registered field but instead set up an illegal virtual gold trading floor and operated as an investment trust.

Under Hsu's direction, the company used false advertisements to build trust with customers and persuade them to invest in its gold trading floor, which is currently forbidden by Vietnamese law. The company also promised to help investors connect with the global gold trading market despite having no connection with any foreign trading floor.

Instead, Khai Thai Company used new investors' funds to pay old investors' interests to create the illusion that they're participating in a real, profitable gold trading floor in order to draw in more investors.

Between 2012 and 2014, the company allegedly raised more than VND500 billion from nearly 1,600 individuals across the country. At the time of the trial, it had spent VND18 billion on paying investors' interests while nearly VND270 million from over 700 investors had been pocketed by Hsu.

At the trial, Hsu and five of his accomplices denied parts of the charges made against them, and many of their victims also denied being scammed. The court however determined there is enough evidence to find them guilty.

In addition to handing down the jail sentences, the court also ordered Hsu and his accomplices to return all the appropriated money to their victims.

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