Convicted fraudsters and failed Crafar Farms bidders May Wang and Jack Chen are facing possible jail sentences longer than any white-collar criminal in New Zealand history.

With co-offender Wenjye Yee, the pair were convicted last week in a Hong Kong court over machinations to buy 22 rural North Island properties formerly owned by the Crafar family.

Wang, Chen and Yee are now in custody ahead of their sentencing at the end of the month. Prosecutors were unable to give a steer this week on what sentence would be appropriate in this case.

However, Business Insider notes that the charges the trio were found guilty of pack a punch.


Wang, Chen and Yee were all convicted of conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law and are liable to be sent to jail for up to 14 years.

By Business Insider's reckoning, that is a tougher rap than white-collar crooks have ever faced in this country. If the trio get even close to the upper end of their possible sentence, they'll be serving longer prison terms than Ponzi schemer David Ross, who is part-way through a 10-year, 10-month jail stretch for ripping off his investors.

He resigned as a director the following year but maintained a stake in the business until mid-2010. The company is still registered, though Shipley is no longer recorded as a shareholder.

In 2011, Chen also struck a deal to import millions of litres of noni juice from Samoa to China in a project that was being overseen by former All Black Michael Jones.

That venture, however, later hit trouble when Chen was charged and his assets frozen by the Hong Kong authorities.

Assets on ice

Chen's and Wang's assets remain under ice but Business Insider is willing to bet they will soon be targeted by Hong Kong's Independent Committee Against Corruption. A bid to seize them will no doubt wait until any appeals are dealt with.

At the request of those authorities, a New Zealand High Court judge put a freeze on assets linked to Chen and Wang in 2013.

These originally included four multimillion-dollar properties, four North Island farms, shares, bank accounts and a BMW X5 registered in Chen's name.

The farms and properties are believed to have been sold, with the proceeds held by the Official Assignee.