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November 13, 2009

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Ex-con con man back to prison

A veteran criminal, who defrauded a woman of about 80,000 yuan (US$11,717) by claiming the ability to shorten her son's imprisonment, was sentenced to six years in prison yesterday.

It is the 11th prison sentence for Li Guangming, 51. His record dates from 1980 and his crimes include larceny, assault and fraud.

The veteran criminal, showing his familiarity with the legal system, fluently answered questions from prosecutors and judges at yesterday's hearing at Xuhui District People's Court without a lawyer.

On June 10, 2008, Li, who had just left prison, visited parents of Zhang Wei, a cellmate of his. Zhang had been sentenced to 15 years for defrauding bank loans and real estate buyers.

Li lied that his nephew was a top officer of the city's public security bureau. The nephew could help Zhang because he knew senior officials in Beijing. But money was needed, the court heard.

Chen Lingdi, Zhang's mother, offered Li 10,000 yuan. Li kept coaxing money from her with the excuse of paying the Beijing officials.

A few weeks later, Li told Chen that Zhang's penalty had been cut to two years. He even showed Chen judicial documents like a recommendation from the public security bureau to reduce the sentence.

They looked official.

"I made the documents myself after getting Zhang's judgment," Li told the court. "I'm very familiar with such things because I have seen too many of them."

Li kept up the fraud to the tune of more than 80,000 yuan, the court said. Li used up all the money.


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