And now the Chinese Warren Buffett

April 7, 2009

Poor Warren Buffet! While it might seem like he should be on top of the world, or at least close, suddenly there’s all of these scammers claiming to be affiliated with him, or, as the SEC charged yesterday the Chinese version of Buffett. Clearly, being an investing guru has its downside!

But unlike Buffett, who never promises a specific return, Weizhen Tang, who lives in Toronto, promised weekly returns of 1%. Most of his customers were of Chinese origin, including a group in Dallas, which prompted the SEC’s involvement. The SEC’s complaint was filed a week after this story appeared in a Canadian newspaper which said that five investors in Tang’s funds — one of which was known as (we can’t make this up) WinWin Capital –went to Toronto police to file a complaint. Several days before that, the Ontario Securities Commission froze Tang’s assets, leading to lots of coverage in the Chinese Canadian press, where Tang was compared to another famous investor who targeted a specific ethnic group: Bernie Madoff.

Tang responded to some of the concerns on his own site. Here’s a snippet:

For both Ponzi and Madoff, their purpose is to take possession of the funds of the clients by deception. However, I am by no means like them, so I am not afraid of the judicial process…I am not like Ponzi or Madoff, because even my car is a leased one. To me, the current trouble is only a temporary setback on my journey to success. For a seasoned investor with over 15 years of market experience, earning scores of millions of dollars is not a target out of reach. Therefore, I will not give up. I need your continued support, but even without it, I will carry on bravely.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Tang raised about $17.3 million from 75 investors, most of them in the Dallas area.

Image source: Bloomberg News

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