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Man sentenced to 13 1/2 years in bankcard frauds

A young man who stole more than 3 million yuan (US$474,000) from car owners in a unique bankcard scheme was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison.
Zhu Kaihua, 20, a Jiangxi Province native, was also fined 350,000 yuan by Zhabei District People's Court yesterday.
Prosecutors said Zhu targeted Shanghai vehicle owners and bought their identity card numbers online in 2010. He chose the owners of expensive vehicles and paid bank employees to get their bankcard numbers and personal credit records.
With the information, Zhu hired Xue Yongbin, who has been jailed for six years for his role in the case, to guess the passwords of the bankcards. Xue's guesses were accurate about 20 percent of the time, the court heard.
Zhu cooperated with two vendors, who will be tried separately, on that offer services to pay utility bills for others at a discount.
In the scheme, for example, the vendor would charge a customer 95 yuan for a 100 yuan water bill. The vendor then gave Zhu 90 yuan to pay the bill. Zhu then used the stolen bankcard information to pay the bill. Thus, they each earned money without actually paying anything.
"I used online banking services to pay utility bills and most banks would not send text messages to inform card holders of the balance changes in their bank accounts," Zhu told the court.
Between March 1 and March 8 last year, Zhu took the advantage of this loophole to steal over 2.5 million yuan from a woman surnamed Peng. Peng did not report to the police until the bank told her her account had no money left, the court heard.


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