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JOB SCAM/Seven sentenced for fake job scam, abusing victims in Taichung fraud case

12/14/2023 11:31 PM
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A suspect is pinned down by the police during a raid in Taichung on Dec. 25, 2022, where four victims are rescued. File photo courtesy of local authorities
A suspect is pinned down by the police during a raid in Taichung on Dec. 25, 2022, where four victims are rescued. File photo courtesy of local authorities

Taipei, Dec. 14 (CNA) Seven members of a scam ring were handed jail sentences ranging from 22 months to nearly 11 years after being found guilty of posting fake job ads online to lure victims who were forced to hand over their bank accounts which were used to launder fraudulently obtained money, Taichung District Court said on Thursday.

The seven individuals were convicted of a battery of crimes, including imprisonment, aggravated forced sexual intercourse, aggravated robbery, aggravated fraud and money laundering, under the Organized Crime Prevention Act and the Money Laundering Control Act, the court said in its ruling.

One of the convicted, identified by the surname Chang (張), received 10 years and 10 months behind bars, while the six others were handed jail terms ranging from one year and 10 months to 10 years and eight months, but these can still be appealed, the ruling said.

The case came to light after the family of one male victim reported him missing last year to police, who in December raided the computer room of the scam ring in Taichung's Beitun District, the ruling said.

The man and three other victims -- another man and two women who were illegally detained against their will -- were rescued by police, it said.

Two of the fraudsters, including one surnamed Lin (林) who stood guard at the location, were apprehended when police raided the premises, which led to the subsequent arrest of five other scam ring members, including one identified by the surnamed Kuo (郭), it said.

All seven individuals have been detained at the request of prosecutors, it added.

According to the ruling, the seven ring members sought to defraud the victims through online fake job advertisements in December 2022, in collusion with overseas-based individuals.

The Taiwanese ring members were responsible for handling the money they defrauded at the behest of these foreign-based individuals, the ruling said.

Kuo was found to have posted false job and loan advertisements on social media, luring victims who were then forced to give their bank accounts to the ring, which were used to launder money defrauded by the foreign-based individuals.

According to the ruling, as much as NT$32 million (US$1.01 million), believed to have been obtained by fraudulent means, was subsequently seized from four bank accounts.

Prosecutors investigating the case also found that Kuo and the other six perpetrators illegally imprisoned the four victims to prevent them reporting their criminal activities to the authorities.

While imprisoned, the victims were seriously beaten and even forced by their captors to have sexual intercourse in front of the others, crimes the court found caused tremendous psychological and physiological damage to the victims, the ruling said.

(By Flor Wang and Chao Li-yen)

Enditem/AW

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