Recent ICAC Cases

11
Mar 2021
Duo charged by ICAC jailed for fraud over $20m mortgage loans and money laundering

Two former employees of a solicitors firm, charged by the ICAC, were today (March 11) respectively sentenced to 47 months and 30 months in jail at the District Court for defrauding two licensed money lenders of mortgage loans totalling $20 million and laundering part of the sums.

The ICAC case arose from a corruption complaint. Subsequent enquiries revealed the offences.

Kevin So Kam-wai, 44, former legal clerk of the now defunct K.L. Leung & Co. (KLL-solicitors), received a jail term of 47 months, while Jacky So Yun-yue, 52, former legal executive of KLL-solicitors, was jailed for 30 months.

In sentencing, Judge Katherine Lo Kit-yee said Kevin So, who worked in a solicitors firm, had meticulously schemed to commit the offences with clients’ data. What he did had constituted a breach of trust and had dealt a blow to the public’s confidence in solicitors firms. The role played by Jacky So in this case was no less than that of Kevin So, though he acted upon the latter’s instructions.

Kevin So was earlier convicted of three charges – two of fraud, contrary to Section 16A(1) of the Theft Ordinance; and one of using copies of false instruments, contrary to Section 74 of the Crimes Ordinance.

Kevin So and Jacky So were also found guilty of one count of dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence, contrary to Section 25(1) of the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance.

The court heard that at the material time, Kevin So and Jacky So were respectively legal clerk and legal executive of KLL-solicitors. Jacky So was also a director of Chilly Associates Limited (Chilly), an offshore company.

Kevin So, as a legal clerk of KLL-solicitors, handled the purchase of a private residential property in Kennedy Town by a couple (the property owners). However, after the transaction was completed in July 2014, the relevant title deed was not furnished to the couple.

In November 2014, Kevin So falsely represented to Sky Credit Limited (Sky Credit), a licensed money lender, that he was authorised by the property owners to handle an application for a mortgage loan of $10 million. Relevant documents purportedly signed by the property owners were submitted to Sky Credit.

Believing that the documents were genuine, Sky Credit released the loan of $10 million into a bank account of Chilly upon an authorisation purportedly signed by the property owners.

ICAC investigation revealed that Jacky So disposed of the loan by transferring over $7.1 million to the bank account of Kevin So and $2.2 million to settle a payment owed to a client of KLL-solicitors. Jacky So kept the remaining $700,000 in his personal bank account.

In March 2015, Sky Credit instituted a civil claim against the property owners, KLL-solicitors and Chilly after it discovered that the interest repayments of the loan were running into arrears.

The court heard that on March 19, 2015, Kevin So used copies of two letters purportedly issued by the property owners to instruct another solicitors firm, the then employer of Kevin SO, to act on the behalves of the property owners in the civil claim. The property owners were not aware of the civil claim.

Between February 1 and June 19, 2015, Kevin So also falsely represented to Jafoon Finance Company (Jafoon), another licensed money lender, that the property owners had authorised him to handle an application for another mortgage loan of $10 million on the property.

Believing in Kevin So’s representation which was supported by the authorisation purportedly signed by the property owners, Jafoon released the loan of $10 million, which was later used to repay the loan of Sky Credit.

The court heard that the property owners had never obtained or instructed anyone to obtain the aforesaid two loans totalling $20 million.

The prosecution was today represented by prosecuting counsel Juliana Chow and Senior Public Prosecutor Marcus Lee, assisted by ICAC officer Winnie Fung.

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