U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 20378 / November 30, 2007
USA v. Bunchan et al. (Criminal Action No. 06-10004-RGS) (D.Mass)
SEC v. WMDS, Inc. et al. (Civil Action No.05-12268-RCL) (D. Mass)
Two Defendants in SEC Enforcement Action Sentenced in Federal Court on Related Criminal Charges
Defendants Operated Investment Fraud Targeting Cambodian Immigrants
The Commission announced today that on November 28, 2007, James Bunchan and Seng Tan, two defendants in a previously-filed Commission enforcement action, were each sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on their convictions on related charges of mail fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme. Bunchan was sentenced to 35 years in prison and Tan was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts had obtained indictments against Bunchan and Tan on January 5, 2006 and both defendants were convicted on June 27, 2007 after a criminal trial.
A third defendant, Christian Rochon, who was also named in the Commission's complaint, pled guilty on June 4, 2007 to related criminal charges of mail fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. Rochon has not yet been sentenced.
The Commission filed its complaint against Bunchan, Tan, Rochon and two corporate defendants, WMDS, Inc and OneUniverseOnline, Inc., on November 16, 2005, alleging that they operated a fraudulent investment scheme that targeted Cambodian immigrants and that purported to guarantee returns for future generations. The complaint alleged that the defendants emphasized their shared Cambodian heritage with their victims, and written solicitation documents drew a parallel between investing in WMDS and fulfilling the American dream, stating that WMDS "urges you to sign up now or you will miss your best chance of fulfilling your American dream." In fact, according to the complaint, the defendants were operating a fraudulent pyramid scheme and ceased making the promised monthly payments. 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 all defendants.