Martin Lee @ Sg
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Sunshine Empire

The trial of Sunshine Empire founders James Phang Wah, his wife Neo Kuon Huay, and ex-director Jackie Hoo Choon Cheat is currently underway as they are charged by the public prosecutor of running a Ponzi scheme.

Within a period of just 15 months, Sunshine Empire managed to raise $180 million from investors enticed by the ‘promised’ high returns – rebates from the sale of lifestyle products. The rebates, however, cost more than the products themselves, and eventually the whole house of cards collapsed.

To continue giving out the rebates, Sunshine Empire would have to generate returns in excess of 300% from the money that it collected, something that was doomed to fail.

We always hear the sayings “There’s no free lunch” and “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. Investors of Sunshine Empire like bus driver Vincent Teo would mortgage his house to purchase Sunshine packages would unfortunately live to regret not heading them.

If the promised returns of any scheme offered to you is very high, always investigate how the returns are derived. If they are dependent on new investors joining the scheme, . be very careful and don’t let greed get the better of you.

CAD FAQ on Sunshine Empire for affected investors

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9 comments
newbe says 9 years ago

Guys, i would blame on financial education and transparent financial management.
Lured by fake seminars and display branded items which make the middle class person dream of getting rich(but end up worst).

I do believe those Ponzi or fraud scheme can be reduced via education and transparency management.

exp: Lets us compare will fund manager invest on a scheme likely to be ponzi or a middle class without proper financial education ? Likely or unlikely ?

Reply
WTX says 9 years ago

Well I know an acquaintance who worked in SE. Even after the incident, he insisted that SE was working in accordance with the law and MAS changed the law in order to prosecute the firm. Last I’ve seen him, he was driving a big mercedes around. I’ve also been to one of their pitches and discussed about their scheme.

I ended up not putting in any money, but undeniably, if you put morals aside, there are people who profit from ponzi schemes without being the man on top who takes the bullet. I have also read from blogs about educated investors who *knowingly* put in their money because they figured they could pull out in time.

Bottom line, the financial market has its fair share of sharks and bait. If you’re not a shark, steer clear of these investments.

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    lioninvestor says 9 years ago

    Hi WTX,

    Yes, you are right.

    It is possible to profit from a ponzi if you are one of the earlier investors. But ultimately, you are making money off the later victims. So the moral element will come in as well.

    Reply
      WTX says 9 years ago

      Undeniably so, yes. Which is why I said they are sharks. I think the difference between the ones who profited and the ones who lost here is not whether you are educated or not. After all, many of the investors are undeniably educated. It doesn’t even have much to do with financial literacy.

      It probably boils down to whether you make a habit of keeping your eyes open to what’s happening around you. This is especially a problem in Singapore where everything’s regulated and you don’t have much of a need to learn to look out for yourself.

      Reply
DanielP says 9 years ago

I think the problem is not such a simple issue as greed.

When the ponzi scheme is on-going, you have friends and relatives “making lots of money”, and you are probably encouraged more than once to “invest” those who don’t are probably made to feel stupid.

It is not so easy to stop somebody from “investing” in such schemes because the evidence is to the contrary, people appear to be making money, until the ponzi scheme implodes as it must, by which time, it is too late, the late-comers are left holding the bag.

Sadly but true, nobody will take care of your money if you don’t.

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    east_europe_fraud says 9 years ago

    This is not easy to fix. Anyone who really has the ability to do so will naturally take up the job to fix the problem, since it most likely pays well.

    Paying someone 1 mil to prevent SE from siphoning 180 mil is well worth it.

    No takers.

    Reply
    lioninvestor says 9 years ago

    Hi Daniel,

    As you correctly pointed out, it’s hard to stop someone because of the initial evidence.

    Founders of Ponzis are not stupid and they will always pay out initially in order to draw more people in.

    Reply
east_europe_fraud says 9 years ago

You’ve so many shill comments on Genneva Gold. Wow.

Anyway, cult leaders aren’t any less intelligent that a wise old man with words of wisdom. People always fall for these tricks because they underestimate the cult’s ability and overestimate their own.

Authorities with people paid well over a million per year can’t fix scams and vans selling overpriced speakers. You think a few words of wisdom from you or me can? If i have such great ability, I’d have been paid 1 million/yr already!

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Intheknow says 9 years ago

people are just blinded by greed at times and fail to heed words of wisdom.

of course it doesn’t help when the devil and his henchmen flock around poking/screaming at the people warning the public.

Reply
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