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4 charged over scam
FOUR people were hauled to court on Tuesday on charges of being involved in a fraudulent investment scheme in connection with the controversial multi-level marketing firm Sunshine Empire.
Phang Wah, 49, better known as James Phang, his wife, Neo Kuon Huay, 46, Jackie Hoo Choon Cheat, 29, and Yong Wai Hong, 27, face between six and 20 charges each.
The prosecution alleges that Hoo, a director of Sunshine, abetted Phang and others to siphon $947,905 from the firm between December 2006 and August 2007.
Both men are said to being party to Sunshine's business when they knew it was fraudulently selling prime packages which included potential returns.
Phang, described as a manager, and Hoo are accused of failing to keep accounting and other records for financial year 2007.
Phang, who has the most charges, is said to have conspired with his wife, Ms Jenny Chan, an accounts clerk, and others to falsify accounts involving amounts of $20,000 to $245,000 on six occasions between December 2006 and August 2007.
Another charge states that he was a director of Empire Communication Technology when he authorised someone to falsely lodge a return to the Registrar of Companies on May 24, 2006.
Phang is also accused of having obscene and uncensored films at his Westwood Avenue home on Nov 13, 2007.
Yong was charged with six counts of authorising one Ng Chee Tiong to falsely lodge returns to the Registrar of Companies that shares in the Empire Investment Group, of which he was director, were allotted for cash.
Mr Subhas Anandan is representing all four, who are claiming trial.
Bail arguments will be heard later on Tuesday.
The cases have been fixed for a pre-trial conference on March 5.
A probe into Sunshine's affairs started in November 2007, two months after the company was placed on the investor alert list by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Sunshine was set up by Phang, who says on the company's website that he has almost 30 years' experience in retail, sales and multinational enterprise building.
Sunshine is reported to have attracted 20,000 clients here since it was set up in July 2006.
4 offered $600k bail each
SUNSHINE Empire generated a revenue of $189 million in just over a year, a Deputy Public Prosecutor told a bail court on Tuesday.
Deputy Public Prosecutor April Phang was giving her reasons why prosecution was seeking a high bail of $800,000 for each of the three men, Phang Wah, Jackie Hoo and Yong Wai Hong, and $600,00 for Phang's wife, Neo Kuon Huay.
The four were charged on Tuesday morning with various offences under the Penal Code and Companies Act.
DPP Phang argued that Phang, 49, and Hoo, 29, faced serious charges, including criminal breach of trust as an agent amounting to almost $1 million.
The duo are also accused of running a fraudulent business of a money circulation scheme involving millions of dollars raised from the general public.
With a mere paid-up capital of $150,000, Sunshine managed to collect $189 million between August 2006 and November 2007.
Phang's wife's charges of falsifying accounts totalled more than $592,896. The 46-year-old also faces one charge of making a false declaration amounting to $100,000.
Yong, 27, is accused of falsely declaring amounts of about $1.45 million. The false declarations had given participants the false sense that Sunshine's affiliate companies were strong financially, said DPP Phang.
She said Yong, chairman/chief executive officer of a Hongkong-listed company known as Emcom International, travelled frequently and might choose to remain in Hongkong and not return.
Mr Subhas Anandan, together with Mr Noor Mohamed Marican, argued that $300,000 bail each for Phang and Hoo, $150,000 for Neo, and $60,000 for Yong would be sufficient as they had roots in Singapore and wanted to stay here to clear their names.
District Judge John Ng set bail at $600,000 for each of them. Their passports were impounded.
'The charges against each of the accused person cannot be looked at in isolation. The charges are serious in nature and the quantum involved is substantial,'' he said.
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