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Hainan man receives lengthy sentence for online romance scams

By Quan Zhanfu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-04-11 23:16

A Hainan province man has been sentenced to over 12 years in prison and fined 200,000 yuan ($27,600) for defrauding six women he met online through elaborate romance scams.

The court, identified by Legal Daily on Thursday as Longhua District People's Court in Haikou, found the defendant, surnamed Xu, guilty of fabricating online identities and stories to manipulate his victims. Between October 2021 and May 2023, Xu swindled a total of 3.09 million yuan ($430,000) from the women.

Prosecutors detailed a pattern of deception employed by Xu. He initially gained the trust of his victims by posing as a successful individual with aliases like "Wang Shan." He then fabricated stories of financial difficulties or medical emergencies to solicit money.

One victim, named Xiao Mei, was defrauded out of 55,000 yuan after Xu concocted a tale about his mother needing urgent medical care. Court documents revealed that Xu used the stolen money for online gambling.

This pattern continued with five other women. Xu claimed high-paying jobs or ownership of an e-commerce company to further his web of lies. The victims, believing his stories and fueled by their emotional attachment, transferred varying amounts ranging from tens of thousands of yuan to over 1.3 million yuan. One woman even resorted to using multiple credit cards to withdraw cash for Xu.

The court noted that Xu was a repeat offender, having a prior conviction for fraud. This, coupled with the significant financial and emotional harm inflicted on his victims, factored into the harsh sentencing.

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