Friday, 20 July 2012

Arrested for Buying an Imaginary Bank

It was bound to catch up with him eventually.

A tycoon from Wenzhou has been arrested after making false claims he bought an American bank.

Lin Chunping, 42, was formally detained in Zhejiang on Wednesday for allegedly issuing and using fake documents to avoid paying more tax.

He allegedly issued several hundred million yuan in fake value-added tax invoices last year to companies in Guangzhou, Shanghai and 20 other provinces and cities.

Through these fake invoices he was able to claim tens of millions of yuan in tax deductions, according to the People's Daily website.

Also prosecutors found Lin had a trading firm that bought more than 100 fabricated tariff certificates, using them to claim about 100 million RMB in tax rebates.

But perhaps the bigger scam was claiming to have bought the "85-year-old Atlantic Bank of America in Delaware" for $60 million.

What a steal -- except there is no such bank in the United States.

When the announcement of the bank purchase was made, he was hailed by the local government as a role model and even made him a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

But when state media figured it out, Lin fled Wenzhou in May but was caught a month later.

Five others arrested include a senior manager of Lin's companies, his finance manager, two account clerks and a middleman.

Lin's scam might further unravel to reveal an even bigger paper trail. Apparently Lin told investigators that he had trouble meeting interest payments on bank loans and underground lenders last year so he started selling fake invoices to make quick money.

While his 71-day membership to the CPPCC has been cancelled, Lin may face life imprisonment and a fine of up to 500,000RMB if found guilty.

So the lesson is -- if you lie, don't make up a story about buying an American bank.

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