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Couple in Malaysia First to be Charged for Online Investment Scam

Authorities in Malaysia cracked down on Internet fraudsters and charged a Malaysian woman and her British husband as the first people in the country for operating an online investment scam.

59-year old Bryan John Marsden and his 55-year old wife Phan Sew Ken were charged in Kuala Lumpur court for fraudulently collecting money through two online companies during 2004-2005, but they pleaded not guilty, said Fahmi Abdul Moin, a prosecutor from the central bank, Bank Negara. SMH published this in news on September 26, 2007.

The case rose in connection to money embezzlement charges against the man and his wife in 2006 when they also tried for earning RM26 Million (U.S. $5.25 Million) through unknown legal activities during 2003-2005. It is believed that they fooled about 18 Malaysian depositors of RM650,000 (U.S. $125,510) in a get-rich-quick scheme on the Internet. They also had duped people from the United States, Britain and Australia.

Fahmi said that there should be strong measures against investment scams on the Internet. They were also investigating some other companies with the help of banking laws that controlled Internet fraud, however, the couple was first to be brought under charge, he added.

Marsden, who formerly worked as project manager for Kuala Lumpur city center project and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, was tried for gathering deposits while he was the director of New Mark Business Center and PicPay Dot Com. There were changes against both the companies for committing the same crime and Marsden acted as representative on their behalf.

Phan, who formerly was in the teaching profession, was also tried for accumulating money while she was the director of the above two companies. Phan was charged for two similar offences that could bear penalty of an RM10m (U.S. $2.9 Million) in fine and jail for up to ten years.

Bank Negara froze the assets of his clients. According to investigating officer, Abdul Halim Mohamed Dalib, the bank froze company, the couple's assets and property worth RM8.34 Million (U.S. $2.3 million).

Malaysian government is trying to thwart investment scams ruining the Internet by passing laws and preventing access to several illegal sites.

Related article: Couple Orchestrating Pump-and-Dump Scam puts SEC in Trouble

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