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January 12, 2011

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3 imprisoned for American visa swindle

A WOMAN has been sentenced to 11- and-a-half years in jail for swindling more than 430,000 yuan (US$64,955) from eight victims by posing as a Chinese-American who could help with applications for United States visas.

Two men who helped her in the scam were sentenced, three years in prison with probation for one and the other five-and-a-half years in prison.

Jiang Jinhua, thought up the scam and two men, Li Fanquan and Pu Jin, assisted her in the sting.

Jiang claimed Li was her husband and the three held US citizenship. They said they could help people who wanted to go to the US get visas, the Yangpu District People's Court heard.

A couple was introduced to Jiang by a friend. Jiang claimed that she had lived in America for more than 20 years and was familiar with the relevant procedures for obtaining a visa.

The couple asked to see the trio's passports. Jiang said the passports were in her apartment, which was rented to a South Korean, and sent Pu, posing as a friend, to fetch them.

Pu and Li went out together and Pu called Jiang an hour later claiming that the door was locked and the tenant had returned to South Korea, so he couldn't get the passports.

The "performance" convinced the couple. They, as well as a friend surnamed Chen, decided to use Jiang to get visas for them and paid her 19,000 yuan and 36,000 yuan respectively.

The three victims didn't hear anything about their visas for six months, so informed the police.

Police found that the three had cheated 437,500 yuan from eight victims through scams, including visa applications and air ticket purchases.


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