Ex-carpet cleaner sues to recover more than $3.5 million
British Columbia's biggest lottery winner claims he was bilked of more than $3.5 million less than 18 months after the windfall, by false friends helped by two Vancouver lawyers and an accountant.
Tsering Luding, the carpet cleaner who scored $24 million from Super 7, says he was defrauded in a sophisticated sting featuring phony financial statements and $100,000 payments delivered in banded bills wrapped in plastic bags. He is trying to get it back through a B.C. Supreme Court civil suit.
Since it began December 2006, the fight has featured contempt of court charges, private-eye surveillance and explanations from the man at the heart of the alleged scam — "Dr. Bill Wong."
Wong, according to court documents, is a convicted sex offender who held himself out as a 30-year veteran in business acquisitions with a PhD in economics.
He is also known as William James Wong.
In documents filed in the B.C. Supreme Court, Luding says he met Wong and his wife, Susan, in the mid-1990s when they lived in Tsawwassen and he cleaned their home.
He looked up to the wealthy older man who wooed him with stories of his financial prowess and called him "little brother," the documents say.
Wong boasted of teaching at UBC and acting as an economic consultant to Paul Martin when Martin was prime minister, the documents say.
Luding claimed he saw Wong once or twice a year when he cleaned his home until he unexpectedly ran into him at a store in January 2005. They chatted amiably.
The following month, Luding won the lottery and Wong was among the first to call, he said in his statement of claim.
The families soon became close friends and in March 2006, Wong told Luding he had an opportunity to buy a telecommunications-supply company for $7 million and resell it for $20 million, the statement says.
The business was really worth about $700,000, it says.
In his claim, Luding insists the scam was buttressed by Wong's wife, lawyer Brian Poston, lawyer Mark Wolters and accountant David Bacic.
All of them, including both Wongs, have filed statements of defense denying any wrongdoing.
Luding's claim says:
- Wong offered Luding a 50-per-cent interest in the supposed lucrative business-flip, involving Mil-Sted Communications Ltd., a small local cable-parts supplier.
- Over the following months, however, Wong did not provide supporting financial documents to Luding's advisers.
On June 27, 2006, Luding's claim says, Wong visited him at home and emphasized the close nature of their relationship and the trust it was founded upon, and persuaded him to transfer $3.55 million the following day, against the advice of his advisers.
For the next few months, Luding says Wong continued to stall about providing financial data to confirm the sale and purchase price. On Nov. 24, Luding learned Wong had paid less than $600,000 because of a dispute over inventory.
"I was shocked," Luding said.
He maintains in his claim that Wong pocketed the money, paid off a $1.38-million mortgage on his home, bought a new $92,000 Hummer H2, gave his legal tag-team the bags of cash — $100,000 each — and secreted some in offshore bank accounts, perhaps in Luxembourg.
On June 29, 2006, the day after Luding's money arrived in his account, Wong dropped off the bundled bills to his lawyers, the claim says, adding that he paid off his mortgage the same day.
In documents filed in response to the suit, Wong says the money he gave Poston was "a gift" and the cash he gave Wolters "a retainer" for past and future legal fees.
The proceedings continue and a five-week trial is scheduled for October 2008.