ponzi schemer gets 15 years in prison

Asian behaving badly... yet-another-Ponzi-scheme edition! Last week in Oakland, 38-year-old Peter C. Son, who defrauded 500 investors of $62 million and used the money to live a life of luxury, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison: Danville's high-life Ponzi schemer gets prison.

Son must also pay restitution in an amount that will be determined later. Things apparently got pretty heated at last week's hearing, where many of Son's victims -- many of whom were Korean American -- had packed the courtroom:
When Son was led into the Oakland courtroom in a jail jumpsuit, someone in the gallery yelled in Korean, "You've got to kill that bastard!"

Son later apologized to his victims, family and friends, saying, "They trusted me and I let them down."

Son and his business partner, Jin K. Chung, 46, of Los Altos, both of whom are Korean American, bilked people by promising them extraordinarily high annual returns - as much as 36 percent - from foreign currency trading, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed a civil suit against both men that is still pending. Chung has not been charged in criminal court.

Instead of trading investors' money, the two men used the funds to pay cash "returns" to certain investors in a "Ponzi-like fashion" from 2003 to 2008, federal investigators said.
Unfortunately, Son and Chung's scheme is a fairly common story, and far too often we see these scams targeting investors in Asian communities, with many losing their life's savings in the end. Meanwhile, Son is living it up in his $2.6 million home. Hope he enjoys the comforts of the cell that's waiting for him in federal jail.

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