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September 15, 2011

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Trial in 20 million yuan fraud

A couple charged with swindling more than 20 million yuan (US$3.13 million) from a single victim went on trial in the city yesterday.

The two actually cheated two groups of people from 2008 to 2010 by claiming they were able to buy imported cars at low prices for them, prosecutors said. In order to win their trust, they boasted that the woman was the daughter of a Hong Kong billionaire and had a large number of assets to inherit, prosecutors said at the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court.

But the man, Fan Qiyu, 55, denied the accusations in court yesterday, claiming he was cheated by his girlfriend and knew nothing about the dealings with the victims. His girlfriend agreed, pleading guilty and insisting that everything was her idea.

Fan said he met 41-year-old Xue Min, his girlfriend, in late 2003 through her newspaper ad looking for a spouse, and they soon moved in together and gave birth to a daughter in 2004. But he said he believed his girlfriend's story that she was from Hong Kong and her family was rich until he was arrested by police last year.

In May 2008, Fan introduced his girlfriend to his bosses and colleagues in Shanghai, and then Xue began to help the victims purchase cheap electronic products and imported sedans, she said in court yesterday.

But Xue said she really had no access to the cheap products. For the first few transactions, she bought the products and resold to the victims at a loss to win their trust. When the victims asked her to buy sedans and prepaid her, she and Fan disappeared.

From October 2009 to February 2010, Xue and Fan were in contact with Ye Sunyong, a business owner in Wenzhou who once was Fan's boss, prosecutors said. They cheated him out of a fortune by claiming that Xue had inherited several hundred million yuan from her family in Hong Kong and wanted to invest in his company, the court was told.

The couple told Ye that they could buy imported sedans, such as BMWs and Mercedes Benzes, at low prices, enticing the victim to give them a one-time payment of 81.29 million yuan, according to prosecutors.

Fan and Xue used the money to pay earlier debts and buy houses and vehicles. Ye did receive about 80 vehicles, but that left more than 20 million yuan unaccounted for. That money was never recovered.


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