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Taiwan university student embezzles funds for ‘investment,’ gets scammed

Wenzao graduation committee officer owns up to police after losing NT$1.7 million in stolen funds

Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages.

Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A student serving on Kaohsiung’s Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages (WZU) graduation committee allegedly embezzled around $1.85 million (US$67,026) and lost $1.7 million in a gambling website scam.

On Thursday (Nov. 2), an anonymous WZU student on the online forum Dcard posted a photo showing a handwritten statement from the school’s graduation committee, in which the committee announced that it was notified by the police on Monday (Nov. 29) about its general affairs officer’s embezzlement of NT$1,859,780. The statement, dated Dec. 1, read that the committee had reached an agreement with the officer and her family about a repayment plan, and will ensure that students’ rights are not affected.

Liberty Times reported the female student went to the police accompanied by a WZU staff member, revealing that in mid-November she came across a gambling website online and was contacted about making investments. The scammer claimed that she could make at least 20% profit monthly, prompting her to transfer NT$300,000 on Nov. 17.

She told police that after the initial installment the scammer badgered her to invest more and she made 11 transactions totaling NT$1,709,000. It was only when the scammer became evasive after she asked to withdraw the money did the student realize she was being scammed, per Liberty Times.

The embezzled funds were supposed to be used for graduation gown rentals and graduation photos. Nearly 1,000 graduating students paid more than NT$1,000 each to the committee, WZU Public Relations Office head Lin Yu-chan (林裕展) was quoted as saying.

The police are still investigating why there is a difference of NT$150,780 between the embezzled and the scammed funds.

According to ETToday, WZU responded to the matter by saying, “One cannot expect to turn to us (the school) about an adult over the age of 20 losing money; if there is anything inappropriate, one should take full responsibility.” As the graduation committee is an organization run independently by students, the school did not manage its finances but merely provided general guidance.

However, the anonymous WZU student on Dcard blasted the school for negligence. “I believe if the school paid attention to how the graduation committee was working, and intervened at the appropriate time, this year’s graduating students wouldn’t have felt so dissatisfied and complained so much.”