The Department of Justice unsealed the charges for Christian philanthropist Bill Hwang and his co-conspirators last April 27.
In a release, the Founder and Head of the investment firm Archegos, Sung Kook "Bill" Hwang, and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Halligan have been indicted for racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud offenses in connection with multiple schemes of unlawful manipulation of prices of publicly traded securities in Archegos' portfolio and fraud of many leading global investment bank and brokerages.
"Today's announcement demonstrates the department's unwavering commitment to hold accountable individuals who distort and defraud our financial markets, including those who occupy the C-suite," said Southern District of New York Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco.
Hwang and his co-conspirators lied to banks to acquire billions of dollars they used to artificially inflate the stock price of several publicly-traded companies. They invested in stocks through special contracts with banks and brokers known as "swaps," which allowed Hwang to cause massive buying of certain stocks on carefully selected days and times to falsely elevate stock prices.
They used manipulative trading techniques to keep stock prices high and prevent them from plunging. After one year, Hwang turned a $1.5 billion portfolio and fraudulently inflated it into a $35 billion portfolio. Then suddenly, prices fell off and billions of dollars of capital dissolved nearly overnight.
Hwang's Funding of Christian Churches and Ministries
Hwang was known as the biggest benefactor to Evangelical churches through the Grace and Mercy Foundation that he founded. He has given $591 million to dozens of Christian organizations since its founding in 2006, according to IRS Form 990s filed through the end of 2018.
The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., has been awarded $2.4 million since 2016. Millions were allocated to Christian humanitarian charities, such as Hope for New York and the Bowery Mission, the Christian Post reported. Ravi Zacharias International Ministries also secured $3.3 million.
Tim Keller's Redeemer Presbyterian Church, the Brooklyn Tabernacle megachurch, Christian liberal arts school The King's College, and other churches and missionary organizations nationwide have also been supported by Hwang's foundation.
According to Christianity Today, Hwang was not a famous investor, despite having a huge position in the stock market, and he doesn't keep a flashy lifestyle. He gave talks at a small Christian conferences, held Bible readings, and gave guests Christian books.
Hwang told to his fellow Christians how the size of his faith helps him set a "fair price" for stocks, and said that work is "honoring to God." He referred to the increase in the stock price as a "sign of buying," followed by a laughing emoji, which federal prosecutors took as a sign of market manipulation.
In an interview at the 2018 Yonsai University Conference on Faith & Work, he said that through reading the Bible he realized that "God likes setting a fair value." He emphasized that alleviating companies set up appropriate market prices through investments and advocating for them to do well is all part of God's work.