U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 20978 / March 30, 2009
Accounting and Auditing Release No. 2956 / March 30, 2009
SEC v. WMDS, Inc. One Universe Online, Inc., Seng Tan, James Bunchan and Christian Rochon (United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Civil Action No. 05-12268-RCL)
FINAL JUDGMENTS ENTERED AGAINST INDIVIDUALS AND ENTITIES RESPONSIBLE FOR INVESTMENT SCHEME TARGETING CAMBODIAN IMMIGRANTS
The Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") announced today that on March 26, 2009, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts entered final judgments against five defendants in a civil action filed in November 2005 involving a fraudulent investment scheme targeting Cambodian immigrants. The Commission's action charged that defendants WMDS, Inc. ("WMDS"), OneUniverseOnLine, Inc. ("1UOL"), James Bunchan, Seng Tan and Christian Rochon falsely promised members of the Cambodian immigrant community guaranteed monthly returns on investments that purportedly would pass on to future generations. The complaint alleged that the defendants emphasized their shared Cambodian heritage with their victims, and that certain written solicitation documents drew a parallel between investing in WMDS and fulfilling the American dream. In fact, according to the complaint, the defendants were operating a fraudulent pyramid scheme that ceased making the promised monthly payments in mid-2005.
The complaint alleged that the defendants violated the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws, specifically Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 ("Securities Act") and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and also violated the registration provisions of Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act. On January 24, 2006, the Commission amended its complaint to add Bunchan's former wife as a relief defendant. The Commission's case is pending as to the relief defendant.
The final judgments entered by the Court against Bunchan, Tan, Rochon, WMDS and 1UOL came in response to a Commission motion for default judgments and (1) permanently enjoin the defendants from future violations of Sections 17(a) and 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder; and (2) require the defendants, jointly and severally, to disgorge $26,261,133.16 in ill-gotten gains, such amount to be reduced by any amount forfeited or paid as part of a related criminal proceeding.
On November 28, 2007, Bunchan and Tan each were sentenced by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in a related criminal action after being convicted of mail fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in connection with the fraudulent investment scheme. Bunchan was sentenced to 35 years in prison and Tan was sentenced to 20 years in prison. On August 7, 2008, Rochon was sentenced by the same court based on his June 4, 2007 guilty plea to mail fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in connection with the fraudulent investment scheme. Rochon was sentenced to 5 years probation, with the first year to be served in home confinement.
For further information, please see: Litigation Release Nos. 19464 (November 16, 2005), 19483 (December 5, 2005), 19547 (January 30, 2006), 20172 (June 29, 2007), 20378 (November 30, 2007), and 20677 (August 8, 2008).