Craig Weiner, a New York lawyer representing 4,200 Indonesians, described the victims as unfamiliar with investments, Seattlepi.com reported. He said that many of his clients entrusted their life savings to Regal Financial Bank, lured by promises of high rates of return.
"They made investments, and they lost all their money on it," Weiner said. "It's bad enough when Americans get defrauded, but when citizens of a developing nation get defrauded, I'd say it's even worse."
Regal and its executives, led by Jesse Tam, the president and chief executive officer, allegedly colluded with Dressel Investments Ltd., which is no longer in business, the suit claims. Three Dressel employees have been sentenced to prison terms in Indonesia, and an arrest warrant is out for a fourth, Danny Wong of North Carolina.
Dressel money was key to Regal's founding in 2001 and the company remained one of the bank's biggest customers until it collapsed, Weiner said.
Indonesian investigators said that money invested in Dressel was used to buy a gold mine owned by one Dressel executive or put in a seaweed-processing facility in Tonga owned by Wong. Dressel executives also allegedly bought private planes, cars and houses with investors' cash.
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