China sentences woman to death for $16 million fund scam

BEIJING Fri Apr 6, 2012 7:02am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - A 30-year-old Chinese woman was sentenced to death by a court in Wenzhou for "cheating" investors of 100.11 million yuan ($16 million) losing 94 million yuan in futures and gold trading, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

The death sentence for Wang Caiping - who must first serve two years in prison - came days after Beijing launched a pilot program in Wenzhou to tame the informal private lending market to which the city's renowned entrepreneurs often turn.

Xinhua said Wang borrowed the money between January and October 2010 promising to buy equipment, invest in property and open credit guarantee firms, but instead used the cash to speculate in futures and gold trading along with her elder brother, Wang Guanglin, who is still at large.

After heavy losses, including 30 million yuan in September 2010 alone, Wang tried to negotiate with some of her creditors in November 2010, but they turned her over to police after the meeting broke up, Xinhua reported.

According to Xinhua, Wang said the 15 people had voluntarily given her money in return for handsome interest payments.

One of Wang's defense lawyers said the futures investment activities were legal and criminal charges against her were unfounded, Xinhua said.

But the intermediary court of Wenzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province, ruled that Wang had committed the "crime of fraud of financing" and sentenced to death for the huge sum of money involved, Xinhua added.

The Xinhua report did not say whether an appeal would be heard.

China's supreme court is reviewing another fund-raising case by a woman named Wu Ying, who was sentenced to death by a local court for "illegally raising" 770 million yuan in funds.

In China, a sentence of jail time and death usually means the punishment will be reduced to life in prison. ($1 = 6.3153 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Zhou Xin and Nick Edwards; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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Comments (13)
txgadfly wrote:
What a barbaric country China is! Not only did they sentence a woman to death, they did it for defrauding investors and only of the paltry sum of $16 million !!!

Just think how empty Wall Street would be if we did similar things here? Here, robbing a grocery for food can cost you your life, but ripping off the public for hundreds of billions doesn’t even put you in jail overnight! Isn’t it odd how our systems are so different?

Apr 06, 2012 8:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
QuietThinker wrote:
Has China decided not to follow the U.S. model of ridiculously light penalties for large dollar white collar crimes? Or perhaps the lady in question is really being punished for not paying the right politicians (or contributing to their super-PAC {which “does not coordinate with the campaign”}, which might be closer to how much of the world really works.

Apr 06, 2012 8:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
Maybe a death sentence is a bit harsh, however it’s a lot closer to a meaningful deterrent than many of the penalties meted out for serious, white collar crime, here in the US. With the exception of sentences for Bernie Madoff and a couple of others, we are still far too lenient with rip-off artists, and that’s why there are so many of them. For instance, Raj Rajaratnam got off easy with 11 years. He should have gotten a minimum of 25 years.

Apr 06, 2012 9:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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