Hui "Judy" Wang Sentenced for Wire Fraud in Connection with a $2 Million Advance Fee Scheme
Defendant Bilked Customers who Sought Venture Capital Funding
PORTLAND, Ore. – Hui “Judy” Wang, 46, of Laguna Niguel, California, was sentenced today to 41 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Ancer L. Haggerty following her guilty plea to one count of wire fraud related to an advance fee scheme. Wang was also ordered to pay restitution to the victims in the full amount of $2 million.
“People who lie to cheat others out of their hard earned money in fraud schemes such as this will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. Marshall thanked the Internal Revenue Service for their investigative efforts.
In 2007 a Vancouver business owner sought venture capital for his technology-based start-up company. He found Wang and her business, Grand Capital Financial, through her internet website, advertising the business as a real estate investment trust and financial lender. He approached Wang for her assistance in finding venture capital for his company. Wang promised him that she could secure up to $200 million for his business, but told the victim that he first had to deposit $2 million into her account for a period of 30 days in order to prove to the potential financiers that the business was operational and solvent. If the funding was secured, the deposit would be considered as an advance on her fee. Wang’s contract provided that she would return the $2 million deposit if she could not secure the promised funding within 30 days.
Over the following few months, the victim contacted potential lenders, and eventually a Portland resident agreed to provide a short-term loan of $2 million to the victim so he could pursue additional venture capital through Wang. The money was thereafter wired from Oregon to California.
As soon as the money was deposited into Wang’s account, she began to spend it. She paid off two personal mortgage loans, purchased a residence in Texas, bought two vehicles, and paid numerous personal expenses. When the 30-day window ended and no venture capital was secured, the victim asked for his money back consistent with the contract. Wang repeatedly lied, stating that funding was still being worked out, that she still had all the money, and would return it if she couldn’t secure the funding in the short term. No venture funding ever materialized. All subsequent efforts to recover the money have failed, and the victims have lost the entire advance fee given to Wang.
“Trust in the people you do business with is such an essential part of our economy, and Ms. Wang took advantage of her victim’s trust in her to satisfy her own greed,” said Kenneth J. Hines, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in the Pacific Northwest. “The 41‑month prison sentence handed down today in this case is a clear message to fraudsters that the IRS will bring the skills of its financial investigators to the task of following the money and holding the guilty accountable.”
This investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.