After confiscating more than S$21 million from MLM company Sunshine Empire’s various bank accounts in 2007, the Singapore government is still “safekeeping” and “deciding” what to do with the money. Responding to media queries from Chinese papers Shin Ming Ri Bao reporters, the Singapore Police said that the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and Commercial Affairs Department have not yet decided how to handle the S$21 million even after 10 years.
Pyramid scheme company Sunshine Empire had more than 20,000 members at it’s peak in 2009 February, but only 52 complaints were filed against the company. According to earlier court hearings, Sunshine Empire collected a total of S$180 million, disbursed S$118 million as “payout” to members, founder James Phang alone received S$7.1 million while his wife received S$0.94 million as Director, S$1 million to pay out corporate bonds and S$4.5 million as property deposits for seven condo units at Marina Bay. The Singapore government only managed to recover S$21 million from the remaining S$48.5 million, and the whereabouts for the rest of S$27.5 million are unknown.
The victims of the Sunshine Empire scam are mostly impressionable young students and retirees who have been lured to commit their life savings. Although Sunshine Empire was flagged multiple times by members of the public in 2006 on the year it incorporated, the Singapore government did not take action until late 2007.
The Singapore government also did not announce that they will return the confiscated S$21 million, which has a present value of about S$28 million factoring yearly inflation.
Sunshine Empire found James Phang was recently released from his 9-year jail sentence in Singapore on Dec 20, but he was immediately extradited to Malaysia to face more cheating charges for the Malaysian-branch of Sunshine Empire. His wife made a ruckus outside the Kuala Lumpur court blaming reporters for their “inaccurate reporting” that led to her family’s predicament.