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Company boss, his wife and father detained for swindling

THREE people suspected of swindling cell phone suppliers and company employees out of 40 million yuan (US$5.85 million) have been taken into custody, the Shanghai Public Security Bureau said yesterday.

The owner of a communications and real estate business, surnamed Jin, was running into financial difficulties at the end of last year. From December 4 he signed bad checks to buy cell phones and communication equipment in a Zhabei District market to stock his own stores, according to Zhabei District police. The checks, made out to at least 20 store owners, were worth 19 million yuan.

To cover his companies' losses, Jin and his wife, surnamed Li, also allegedly swindled employees out of 28 million yuan. They told their victims their investments would pay high monthly interest, from 2 to 6 percent, police said.

On January 4, when investors were supposed to receive their first monthly interest payment, they discovered that Jin and Li had disappeared.

The next day, suppliers and duped investors raided Jin's 50 chain stores and seized goods. The police were informed. They froze the bank accounts of Jin's companies and started investigations.

Twelve days later, Zhabei police caught Jin, Li and Jin's father in an apartment on Hongcao Road S. Jin's father was also detained for colluding with Jin to con victims, police said.

Jin had an elaborate plan to disappear, police said. He sold his apartment and cars and prepared five cell phones to contact relatives. Jin made his 11-year-old daughter quit school and asked his mother-in-law to rent an apartment to use as temporary accommodation.

Jin filed for company bankruptcy in December to try to avoid legal responsibility for the companies' losses, but the attempt failed.

On January 4 he fled with his wife, daughter and parents-in-law.

Police recovered cash and goods worth more than 10 million yuan. They said their investigations are ongoing and they may be able to recover more money from Jin.


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