The provincial court jury deliberated for about four hours before returning with the verdict in the high-profile case on Tuesday.
Tang, who held himself up as a pillar of the Chinese community, organizing massive New Year’s Eve galas and other charity events, had pleaded not guilty to one count of fraud over $5,000.
“I’m very sad. This is not what I expected,” Tang told reporters outside the courtroom.
Tang will remain on bail and return to court on Nov. 28 for a sentencing hearing.
He faces a minimum of two years in jail. The maximum penalty is 14 years.
The Ontario Securities Commission said Tang collected about $50 million from more than 100 investors from Canada and the U.S. through his company Oversea Chinese Fund Limited Partnership.
He promised investors that 99 per cent of their funds would be stowed away safely in government bonds, and that the rest would be invested in stocks, mutual funds, and foreign exchange markets in Canada, the U.S. and international markets, the jury heard.
The court heard that $19 million of that was lost in the market, and $5 million went to Tang. The remainder was paid out to investors.
Authorities say Tang operated a Ponzi scheme, using money from new investors to pay earlier ones.
Tang, who did not have a defence lawyer, maintained his innocence. He admitted that client funds were not segregated, but he insisted he had no intention to defraud investors.
Tang proudly billed himself as the “Chinese Warren Buffett” and “The King of 1 Per Cent Weekly Returns.”
He said repeatedly during the trial that he offered his investors promises, not guarantees, and that if their investment went down in value, he would repay their losses.
He also admitted that the account statements he provided to clients did not accurately reflect their balances, just what he had promised to pay them.
Tang said on the stand that average investors don’t understand the market, and that if they saw declines in their investments, they would be scared, and may “interfere” with his trading program.
Tang’s trouble began in February 2009. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, he held a live trading demonstration to show off his trading prowess. He lost money on several days and when some investors wanted their money back, Tang told investors he didn’t have the cash.
The Ontario Securities Commission issued a cease trade order against Tang and his companies in March 2009.
The trial began on Sept. 10. The jury heard from more than a dozen witnesses, including investors, OSC investigators and Tang.
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