Sunshine Empire founder charged with illegal deposit taking in Malaysia

Sunshine Empire founder charged with illegal deposit taking in Malaysia
File photo: Getty Images

A day after his release from a jail sentence in Singapore for fraud, the former director of multi-level marketing (MLM) company Sunshine Empire was charged in a Kuala Lumpur court for allegedly accepting illegal deposits for “lifestyle packages”.

On Thursday (21 December), Singaporean James Phang Wah, 58, was charged with two counts of taking illegal deposits between 14 July and 17 October 2006, and between 18 October 2006 and 4 April 2008 while he was assisting the management of Sunshine Empire’s Malaysian affiliate, Malaysian media reported.

Phang pleaded not guilty to the charges. He faces a fine of up to RM 10 million (S$3.3 million), a jail term of 10 years, or both for each charge. Bail has been set at RM 2 million. Phang has also been asked to surrender his travel documents and report to a police station once a month.

The case will be mentioned again in KL on 26 January 2018.

Singapore investors duped

The “lifestyle packages” sold by Sunshine Empire promised investors high returns. In reality, the returns were generated from new investors instead of from actual profits. The MLM company sold close to 26,000 packages, in what is believed to be the biggest Ponzi-like scheme here, before it was shut down by the Singapore authorities.

In July 2010, Phang was sentenced to nine years’ jail and fined $60,000. Phang’s wife, Neo Kuon Huay, was fined $60,000 for her involvement with the scam, while former company director Jackie Hoo Choon Cheat was jailed seven years.

The Singapore authorities recovered only S$21 million of some S$190 million poured in by investors.


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