“Now that I’ve done my time serving a sentence, I am as capable and free as before. I will resume my professional career that was robbed away by the OSC, continuing to make 1% a week of return for investors,” said Weizhen Tang, poised to make a comeback after his dramatic fall.
Tang was no ordinary figure in the community. As a reporter and an old friend of Tang, I witnessed his spectacular rise and fall and his rough transition from an investment guru to a convicted fraudster. I caught a glimpse of his addiction to his ego through his book “The King of 1% per week”. But I have seen more of him since the collapse of his investment scheme that wiped out $60 million investment fund overnight. I had followed his case closely after he faced fraud charges and permanent trading ban by the OSC, interviewing him repeatedly-- at his home where he displayed his trading terminals, outside of the courthouse where he was going through a criminal trial, and inside the jail where he was serving his sentences.
Tang was one of those white-collar ex-cons who had never been remorseful for the crimes they’ve committed. I visited Tang in 2010 in Don Jail where he was detained as he awaited criminal trial. In this overburdened facility that no longer exists today, Tang, in a criminal jumpsuit and with haggard look and bloodshot eyes firmly believed of his innocence. Across the thick glass pane and through the telephone on the meeting counter, he told me that he was not a fraudster and that all he was doing was to protect investors.
“I have never run a Ponzi scheme… It was Madoff and Earl Jones who run Ponzi. Unlike these people who took care of their wife and kids first, I take my investors as my top priority. You’ve seen that I live in an average home, which is no better than yours,” said Tang.
Tang had maintained his innocence throughout his trial. He has sent "rambling" letters to public figures such as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and has "railed" about the injustices he has faced. Tang registered his name for 2010 mayoral race, taking pride in gaining 900 votes across the city. He felt unfairly convicted and persecuted by the justice system, making comments about his mistreatment by the Canadian court and OSC. He pointed to tons of documents sitting in his basement and said to me:
“Look! This is the evidence that I faced unfair prosecutions by the Canadian authorities!”
Tang had served a significant part of his six-year sentence in a Kingston prison. Meanwhile, he faced lawsuits from his investors, whose hard-earned savings were wiped out by his investment schemes. His troubles had shattered the lives of his families causing them incredible pain. At the height of his ordeal, his bank accounts got frozen, his house was foreclosed, and his wife and children faced investors’ harassment and assaults. However, none of these seemed to have hurt his big ego, eroded his beliefs of innocence or his faith in his ability to churn out investment returns magically.
“The decade of hardship has only assisted my personal and professional growth, “ the proud Tang said to me assertively last week, after a press conference announcing his comeback. “ The fund I am raising is much bigger this time around, targeting billions of dollars. My clients won’t be individual investors only but also institutional ones!”
His remarks made me deeply concerned. In a community vulnerable to investment scams offering a crazy rate of return, I wonder whether he will bring another wave of financial tsunami, turning many into his prey again.
Earlier last week, the OSC issued a news release, warning Ontario investors not to invest with him. Mr. Tang is permanently banned from participating in Ontario’s capital markets, and none of the companies associated with him are permitted to solicit investments from Ontario residents or to provide advice on investing in, buying or selling securities, according to the news release.
The defiant Tang reacted to the warning by the province securities regulator by saying that he is happy that he has made the news again. “I have nothing to worry about. I could continue my practice in provinces other than Ontario, where the OSC has no jurisdiction.”
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