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Prison for benefits faker

A LOCAL man was jailed for 13 years yesterday for faking the residential and death certificates of his relatives and friends in order to make fraudulent claims for housing benefit and medical insurance.

Li Cheng, 29, swindled 165,300 yuan (US$24,219) from the accounts of eight victims, the Xuhui District People's Court said.

Early last year, Li saw a news report saying Shanghai citizens could draw money out of their housing funds if they were moving to another city. Housing funds are pools of money that individuals and their employers contribute to that can be used to buy property.

Li forged a residential booklet stamped with fake seals that showed he had transferred his registration to Laizhou City in Shandong Province. This allowed him to draw out the 522 yuan in his housing fund.

He then used the same trick to take money from his uncle's account. Because only members of one's immediate family are allowed to draw cash out of a housing fund, Li forged a certificate claiming he was his uncle's son.

Li took nearly 20,000 yuan from his uncle's account and more than 8,000 yuan from another two relatives in the same way, the court said.

In August 2008, Li faked the death certificates of three people including his neighbor and a teacher, and used them to claim medical insurance.

"I never expected he would do such a crazy thing," said the neighbor, surnamed Tian. "I always feel miserable when I think he pretended I was dead."

Li also claimed medicine from hospitals using the names of relatives and reported the loss of their medical insurance cards using their ID cards or residential booklets.

He used the new cards to buy medicine worth 125,525 yuan which he sold.


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