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November 16, 2012

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Driving coach gets jail in theft of tuition

A DRIVING coach was sentenced to two years and two months in prison with a three-year reprieve for swindling nearly 100,000 yuan (US$16,036) from local novice drivers, the Qingpu District People's Court ruled yesterday.

The coach, Luo Yuhong, 30, turned himself in on September 21 after police received a victim's tip-off and started investigating.

The victim said he paid 4,200 yuan to Luo and took three months of driver training from him. He alerted police when the coach suddenly disappeared and the driving school Luo claimed to represent said it hadn't gotten any of his tuition. Luo told police he collected tuition of more than 150,000 yuan from October 2010 to June 2011. He wasn't charged over the full amount because of 48 learners victimized, only 27 reported it to police.

Instead of turning the money over to the driving school, he used it to pay gambling debts and other loans.

According to the school, a driving coach should first take a learner for a physical checkup and then collect the tuition, usually around 4,000 yuan. The coach would hand 2,450 yuan to the school for a traffic rule exam and driving tests. The school would give the learner an invoice and lessons would begin.

In Luo's scam, he took all the money and continued to recruit learners, though the school allowed a coach to teach a maximum of 12 learners at a time. Prosecutors charged Luo with stealing 93,400 yuan since some didn't report the crime.

Luo could have been sentenced to up to three years in prison. The court said it gave him a lenient sentence, considering that he returned 89,950 yuan to the victims after he was detained.


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