U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 20677 / August 8, 2008
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)
Defendant in SEC Enforcement Action Sentenced in Federal Court on Related Criminal Charges
Defendant Operated Investment Fraud Targeting Cambodian Immigrants
The Commission announced today that on August 7, 2008, Christian Rochon, a defendant in a previously-filed Commission enforcement action, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts based on his June 4, 2007 guilty plea to related criminal charges of mail fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme. Rochon was sentenced to 5 years probation, with the first year to be served in home confinement.
Two other defendants in the Commission's action had previously been sentenced on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in the related criminal action. On November 28, 2007, James Bunchan was sentenced to 35 years in prison and Seng 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.
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.