The China Post news staff
The China Post news staff — Ke Fu-yuan (柯富元), president of the Taiwanese food giant Chu Shue Che Foods Manufacturing Co. (掬水軒), was sentenced to thirteen years in prison by the Taipei District Court yesterday on charges of illegal solicitation of funds and financial fraud, local media reported. Ke, along with two executives, Li Kan-hui (李乾輝) and Yeh Ya-ling (葉雅玲) of Hsun Hung International (迅宏國際事業), was accused of defrauding more than 5,000 would-be members out of NT$960 million by promising unrealistically high returns for gold and platinum cardholders who put down NT$50,000 and NT$100,000 membership fees, respectively, as investment in the yet-to-be-built Chu Shue Che shopping center located in Taoyuang. Ke, according to the indictment paper, used NT$300 million from the fund to backfill the financial shortfalls at Chu Shue Che Foods, while Li and Yeh were said to have forged unified receipts to evade taxes while recruiting members for the shopping center on behalf of Ke. The Taoyuang project, which was announced ten years ago, had left many of the members penniless and even debt-ridden, and Ke had persistently refused to compensate them for their losses, the indictment paper said.
Ke was charged with criminal activities breaking a slew of financial regulations, chief among them the Banking Act and was sentenced to thirteen years. Li and Yeh, a husband-and-wife team, were sentenced to twelve and two and a half years, respectively. This is not the only case the prosecutors have opened against Ke. After his NT$960 million deal was exposed, Ke proceeded, perhaps with the same tactics, to raise almost NT$700 million again, a transaction that is also being investigated by the law enforcement agency.