Lawyer sentenced to 87 months for multimillion-dollar investment fraud, appeals sentence with decision pending next month

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Alexander Chang Yau-hung

19th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) Alexander Chang Yau-hung, a former Hong Kong district councillor and lawyer, has been sentenced to 87 months in prison for misappropriating US$10 million in 2022. Chang, who has not practised law for many years, was involved in a scheme that has drawn significant scrutiny due to its scale and the nature of the deception.

In September 2014, a high-yield investment plan was presented to a client referred to as Mr. X, promising daily returns of 40% and the potential for U.S. residency. The funds, amounting to approximately HK$78.4 million, were to be held in trust by Chang. However, he subsequently transferred all the funds to a Singaporean woman’s account. The victim, suspecting fraud, alerted the authorities, leading to Chang’s confession of theft in 2022.

Chang’s legal journey took a turn as he challenged the severity of his sentence, claiming it was disproportionate. His appeal was heard, and the decision has been postponed to 20th May, when a written judgment will be issued.

Chang, now 71, has had a controversial legal history. In 2015, he was entangled in a US$500 million counterfeit cashier’s check case, although he was ultimately acquitted. During the appeal, his legal team argued that Chang had reported the incident to both Hong Kong and U.S. authorities, which led to several prosecutions. They contended that the trial judge failed to adequately acknowledge these actions and mistakenly interpreted Chang’s motivations for reporting the fraud as selfish.

The prosecution countered that Chang had reported the fraud before he received the funds from the victim, suggesting that no additional sentence reduction should be granted based on these actions.