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Swindler sentenced 18 months for phone scam

A SWINDLER was sentenced to 18 months in prison today for a phone scam in which he pretended to be a friend of the victim.

Shao Caiming, a native of Guangdong Province, succeeded in cheating the victim surnamed Fang out of 40,000 yuan (US$5,857) in one day by imitating a fraud case reported by a TV station, the Yangpu District People's Court said.

On November 24, Shao watched a TV news report about a swindling case and decided to imitate the scam. He spent 160 yuan on a bank card in preparation.

Shao dialed random cell phone numbers in Shanghai the next day. His second call was to Fang.

Shao asked Fang to guess who he was in the phone. Fang replied excitedly that Shao must be a Guangdong friend of his after hearing Shao's Guangdong accent. Shao said he was Fang's friend and was in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Shao said he would soon come to Shanghai to visit Fang, the court heard.

Shao called Fang again the next day, claiming he was caught with a prostitute and had to pay a 20,000 yuan fine. He asked to borrow the money because he didn't have so much cash with him in Hangzhou, the court heard.

Fang remitted the money to the appointed account quickly. Shao withdrew the cash from an ATM and told Fang he needed 20,000 yuan more to pay the fine for the prostitute. He promised to return the money to Fang quickly. The victim sent another 20,000 yuan to the same account.

Because the amount was more than the ATM's daily limit, Shao had to go to the bank counter to withdraw the money.

The bank clerk became suspicious after seeing Shao's nervous expression and noticed he had already withdrawn a big sum of money from the ATM that day. Shao's signature was also different from that on the back of the bank card. The alert bank clerk called the police and Shao was caught.

The court said Fang's money has been returned.


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