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March 4, 2010

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Prosecutors: tenant was bled for huge fees

THREE employees of a local property management company went on trial yesterday for allegedly conspiring to trick a bathhouse into paying extra electricity fees of 1.52 million yuan (US$222,548).

Prosecutors alleged the two principal defendants, Jin Yating and Cao Guizhen, shared part of the swindled electricity fees privately.

The two worked for Shanghai Yijiang Property Management Co Ltd, which managed a Liangfeng office building whose tenants included the bathhouse.

The bathhouse owed property management fees to Yijiang, and Jin and Cao conspired to get the money in other ways, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said that in 2004 the duo instructed Yan Kanglin, 66, an electrician for Yijiang, to connect electric wires of the building's public lighting and elevators to the bathhouse's ammeters, which record electric-current usage - diverting what had been an expense of the management company to the bathhouse.

They also ordered Yan to set forward the reading in the ammeters to make the bathhouse pay more, according to prosecutors.

Jin and Cao denied the charges and also disavowed confessions they had given to police.

Yan argued he just followed instructions of the manager and didn't know they were a crime. Besides, he didn't get profits from the scam.

All the defendants thought 1.52 million yuan was much higher than the actual sum cheated from the bathhouse.

Prosecutors suggested sentences from 12 to 14 years for Jin and Cao and seven to nine years for Yan.

Pudong New Area People's Court did not give its verdict.


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