The TR Emeritus Reports,
$6 million of CHC funds transferred to Warner Bros executive
During the trial of 6 City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders yesterday (20 May), prosecutors produced evidence to show how $6 million of church funds was purportedly transferred to a Mr Justin Herz of JH Music, a production house registered in California.
JH Music was engaged to promote the pop career of Kong Hee’s wife, Sun Ho, in the US.
The transactions supposedly show, from October 5 to 31, 2009, how money was meant to flow from one church-linked company to another, before $6 million was eventually transferred to JH Music in November 2009.
Accounts presented by the prosecution showed one payment of $204,635 was made to Mr Herz by a CHC-linked company, Xtron Productions, on 9 May 2008. Another payment was made in November 2009, showing $6 million to be used for “additional budget JH needs”. The $6 million was recorded as advance rent to be paid by CHC to Xtron.
Pastor Kong Hee and 5 other CHC leaders are accused of allegedly channelling $24 million of the church’s funds into sham bond investments to further the career of his wife between 2007 and 2008. 4 of them are also accused of later allegedly covering their tracks by devising transactions worth $26.6 million, known as “round-tripping”, to “redeem” the sham bonds.
The prosecution produced as evidence an e-mail from a witness, Ms Angie Koh, a former accounts assistant at CHC. In it, she had asked a Mr Wahju to settle certain transactions so that the money would “reach Justin in two weeks”. She said that Mr Herz is from the United States but she was not sure what he does.
Who is Justin Herz?
Justin Herz’s dealings with Sun Ho go back all the way to at least 2006.
According to the October 2006 issue of the influential music news magazine Billboard [Link], Sun Ho and her management team, which included Justin Herz of JH Music in Los Angeles, were hoping that Sun Ho’s brand partners could help her snag a US label deal. Mr Herz believed that such brand partners would make it easier to introduce and break her into the US market.
Mr Herz said, “Sun has the resources; she brings a lot to the table. She ties music and fashion together as a revenue and lifestyle marketing platform, which opens up new distribution opportunities. She could very well share profits around these initiatives…”
However, a quick check of JH Music’s website by TR Emeritus (TRE) today (21 May) reveals that it is either in the process of changing its website or not operating:
TRE then proceeded to check on the status of JH Music’s website [Link] which revealed the following:
That is to say, JH Music’s website was created and registered only in Dec 2006, about the time when Sun Ho was to launch her pop career in the US (see link to Billboard magazine above). JH Music was a new music production house and not a pre-existing one in 2006.
The company’s address is listed as 832 S Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036. A check on Google Map shows it is a residential address:
The person-in-charge of the website is listed as Justin Herz. Here is where things get interesting. His e-mail address is listed as firstname.lastname@example.org – an e-mail address belonging to Warner Bros, the entertainment US giant!
According to the social media site for professionals, LinkedIn, Justin Herz has been working in Warner Bros as a senior executive since 2003. He was VP Digital Marketing and Production Services from 2003 to 2010 and promoted to SVP/GM in 2010 [Link]:
Indeed, in his panelist’s biography listed for the 3rd Annual Hollywood IT Summit, he confirmed that he is a senior executive from Warner Bros [Link]:
Another interesting piece of information is that JH Music is registered under Renee Herz and not Justin Herz.
According to information from California Secretary of State and Dun & Bradstreet, JH Music has a location in Los Angeles, CA. Active officers include Renee Herz. The company’s line of business includes business services at a non-commercial site. The company is now listed as “inactive”. It was incorporated in February 2006 [Link], the year that Sun Ho launched her music career in the US:
It is fair to surmise that Renee Herz is related to Justin Herz in some way given that both of them share the same last name “Herz”. It is not known however if JH Music is linked to Warner Bros in any way.
Question is, why did Sun Ho or CHC use a brand new and unknown company to promote her pop career in the US, given that they were paying millions of dollars?