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February 18, 2012

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Gang conned women with promise of TV ad stardom

A GANG who duped 78 women into parting with more than 1.4 million yuan (US$222,286) with promises that they could star in TV adverts have been jailed.

The 11 people who were convicted received prison sentences ranging from 18 months to 11 years, the Songjiang District People's Court said yesterday.

They enticed victims with claims they were recruiting image ambassadors for skin care goods - members of the public appearing in ads endorsing a product.

Between June 2009 and April last year, 78 women nationwide were persuaded to pay out advance fees in pursuit of their dream of becoming image ambassadors.

The gang members, in their 20s, called customers of two domestic skin care brands whose numbers they obtained online.

Pretending to be customer service representatives, they offered the women the chance to feature in commercials.

"We told the victims they would be paid 50,000 yuan," said ringleader Zhu Xuebo.

But the women were told to pay a "guarantee fund" before filming could begin.

In one instance, a victim was taken for 222,500 yuan, prosecutors said.


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