Fraud­sters jailed over deadly scam

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YI zhangyi1@chi­

Seven peo­ple in­volved in a high-pro­file tele­com fraud case that led to the death of a fe­male stu­dent were sen­tenced on Thurs­day in Jieyang, Guang­dong prov­ince.

Chen Minghui, the rin­gleader, was sen­tenced to life in prison, de­prived of po­lit­i­cal rights for life and had all her as­sets con­fis­cated, Jieyang In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court said in a state­ment.

She hired others to pose as em­ploy­ees for Chi­nese va­ri­ety shows and send 73,000 fraud­u­lent text mes­sages about lucky prize win­nings to the pub­lic from Au­gust 2013 to March 2014.

Be­tween June and Au­gust 2016, Chen and her gang swin­dled more than 1.04 mil­lion yuan ($159,000), in­clud­ing 9,800 yuan from Cai Shuyan, a high school grad­u­ate in Jieyang who planned to use the money for her univer­sity tu­ition and liv­ing ex­penses.

Cai com­mit­ted sui­cide by jump­ing into the sea after re­al­iz­ing she had been scammed.

The court handed down sen­tences rang­ing from 13 to 15 years plus fines to three other fraud­sters, Fan Zhi­jie, Gao Xuezhong and Ye Qifeng, while Xiong Yun­jiang was given 11 years in prison plus fines for fraud and dan­ger­ous driv­ing.

Two other de­fen­dants were jailed for three years and 16 months re­spec­tively, as well as given fines for con­ceal­ing their il­licit gains, ac­cord­ing to the court.

In Au­gust, seven peo­ple were sen­tenced to prison in Shan­dong prov­ince for their in­volve­ment in an­other tele­com fraud case linked to the death of a teenager in Shan­dong prov­ince.

Xu Yuyu, a high school grad­u­ate from Linyi, died of car­diac ar­rest in Au­gust 2016 after be­ing de­frauded out of 9,900 yuan, which she in­tended to use to pay univer­sity tu­ition fees.

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