Freed from S’pore prison after 9 years, local king of Ponzi scheme faces M’sia jail time

Freed from S’pore prison after 9 years, local king of Ponzi scheme faces M’sia jail time

Mothership.SG·2017-12-22 01:45

James Phang Wah was once known as the local king of the Ponzi scheme and the self-proclaimed Warren Buffet of Singapore.

His Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company, Sunshine Empire, lured Singaporeans into handing over nearly $190 million.

In July 2010, in prison and fined $60,000 for criminal breach of trust.

He was released from prison on Dec. 20, 2017.

From Singapore to Malaysia

on Dec. 21, Phang was brought to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court in Malaysia to face two charges of with accepting deposits without a valid license.

Phang allegedly accepted the deposits, worth RM230 million (S$75.8 million) in 2006 and 2008.

Phang was charged under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) of 1989. He pleaded not guilty.

The in 2013, but Phang’s offences were committed when BAFIA was still in force. Therefore, he can still be charged under the Act.

If convicted, each charge carries a maximum fine of RM10 million (S$3.3 million), or a prison term of 10 years, or both.

The case will be heard on Jan. 26, 2018.

Rise of Sunshine Empire

. He grew up on a vegetable farm in Lim Chu Kang, and worked at a shipyard and as a construction worker to pay for his night A-Level classes.

He founded his first MLM company in 1990, Number One Product. In 2003, he set up Empire Group Alliance, a network of businesses that included Sunshine Empire.

In an with the Straits Times, Phang boasted:

“I’m a legend. I’m very good, better than Warren Buffet. We acquire companies like you go to market buying beancurd.”

Gif from Adweek

People who signed up for Sunshine Empire paid a fee that allowed them to buy all kinds of products from an online store, like lingerie and health supplements.

Then they were supposed to sell them to their friends (or anyone they met once and added on Facebook).

Fall of Sunshine Empire

But in practice, they rarely did so. The real lure was the Consumer Rebate Privileges, which gave members a monthly cash payout.

How were these payouts funded? Mostly from the fees paid by new members.

The house of cards fell in Nov. 2007, when the police’s Commercial Affairs Department raided the firm.

Top image via TheNumber1People on YouTube.

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