Scam linked to no­tary of­fices

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YI zhang_yi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

An in­ves­tiga­tive group has been set up to probe some no­tary of­fices in Bei­jing for sus­pected mis­con­duct that re­sulted in huge losses for se­niors.

The Min­istry of Jus­tice on Thurs­day re­sponded to re­cent news re­ports about the al­leged scam tar­get­ing the el­derly.

Start­ing im­me­di­ately, no­tary of­fices or or­ga­ni­za­tions are not al­lowed to pro­vide no­tary ser­vices to peo­ple over 60 who au­tho­rize oth­ers to sell their houses un­less they are ac­com­pa­nied by their adult chil­dren.

The whole no­tary process must be video­taped.

Ac­cord­ing to Peo­ple’s Daily, a pro bono law firm in Bei­jing is work­ing on more than 10 cases in­volv­ing se­niors who be­lieved they could profit by pledg­ing their houses to a lender.

“We think it is a new type of scam dis­guised as a fi­nanc­ing plan,” said Wu Jie, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing their cases at Zhicheng Public In­ter­est Lawyers.

In one case, a woman was in­tro­duced to a bro­ker who asked the woman to lend him 1.9 mil­lion yuan ($283,000) by pledg­ing her house to a third party for three months. In re­turn, the bro­ker promised to give the woman 5 per­cent monthly in­ter­est.

The woman claimed she was brought to a no­tary of­fice and signed a thick stack of doc­u­ments that she couldn’t fully un­der­stand.

Ac­cord­ing to the law firm, the doc­u­ments au­tho­rize the third party to sell her house.

The woman was given an IOU of 1.9 mil­lion yuan from the bro­ker. The no­tary of­fice was sus­pected of play­ing an as­sist­ing role by al­low­ing her to sign doc­u­ments she didn’t un­der­stand.

The min­istry said the scam has caused huge eco­nomic losses as well as emo­tional dam­age, and dis­turbed reg­u­lar no­tary ser­vices. It will fully in­ves­ti­gate no­taries.

The Jus­tice Bu­reau in Bei­jing will work with po­lice and law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties to bring the scam­mers to jus­tice.

Tong Li­hua, head of Zhicheng Public In­ter­est Lawyers, said more than 100 se­niors have been scammed out their houses with the in­volve­ment of three no­tary of­fices.

He said he hoped an ef­fi­cient warn­ing sys­tem could be set up for vul­ner­a­ble groups in so­ci­ety to pre­vent such tragedies from hap­pen­ing.

“We had an ex­per­i­men­tal pro­gram with the Ag­ing Of­fice in Bei­jing in which a hot­line was set up for se­nior peo­ple to con­sult lawyers. It could pre­vent them from fall­ing for scams,” Tong said.

LI XIAOGUO / XIN­HUA

Stu­dents learn to paint at a tu­to­rial class on Tues­day in Dachang Hui au­ton­o­mous county in He­bei prov­ince.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.