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10 suspects indicted for investment scheme fraud

11/28/2023 05:43 PM
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CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only
CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only

Taichung, Nov. 28 (CNA) Ten suspects have been indicted for their alleged involvement in an investment scheme that defrauded victims out of nearly NT$2 billions (US$63.5 million), the Taichung District Prosecutors Office said Monday.

The main suspect is the 61-year-old company owner identified by his surname Lee (李), who claimed to have received authorization to sell mutual funds in Taiwan on behalf of the Hong Kong-based Best Leader Financial Group, the office said in a news release.

Meanwhile, the nine other suspects were employed by Lee's company.

Prosecutors said the group allegedly sold two types of mutual funds to investors from 2015 to 2022, while promising regular stable returns.

According to the office, one of the mutual funds involved investing in the global wine industry, fine wine trading and wine blockchain platforms. The investors were promised a return ranging between 9.5-13.5 percent per semester (six months).

A probe was recently launched after authorities received information from several investors who claimed they never saw a return on their investment.

Prosecutors said the group is suspected of violating Article 29-1 and Article 125-1 of the Banking Act because it promised inappropriately high rates of return, and illegally operated a deposit-taking business through fraud.

The suspects are believed to have defrauded investors out of more than NT$1.8 billion during the seven-year period, they added.

On Monday, prosecutors also filed a request with a district court to confiscate assets belonging to Lee and the other suspects, which included real estate properties and illegal gains valued at NT$1.67 billion.

(By Su Mu-chun and Ko Lin)

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