A swindler was sentenced to life imprisonment for cheating the wife of executed Chinese billionaire, Yuan Baojing, of eight million yuan (one million U.S. dollars), the Beijing Times reported in Beijing Monday.
In 2004, Wang Fuqiao pretended to be a government official and promised Zhuo Ma, wife of Yuan Baojing, that he could use his contacts with senior officials to help secure the release of her husband. Arrested in November 2003, Yuan was sentenced to death for plotting murder, and executed in March 2006.
Wang was sentenced to life imprisonment for fraud by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court. All his personal property will be confiscated.
Zhuo Ma said she met Wang at a friend's birthday party on Feb. 24, 2004.Wang later phoned Zhuo Ma saying he knew lots of high-level officials and could help secure the release of Yuan from prison.
From Feb 2004 to June 2005, Wang asked Zhuo Ma to give him a total of eight million yuan, the paper quoted the court's investigation as saying.
After Yuan was executed, Zhuo Ma realised she had been cheated by Wang and asked Wang to return her the money. But Wang simply gave her an IOU for four million yuan and then returned 900,000 yuan in Sept. 2005.
Wang denied he had pretended to be a state leader, saying Zhuo Ma asked him to deal with Yuan's case and the eight million yuan was a payment for services rendered.
But neither Wang nor his lawyer could provide enough evidence of the services they claimed had been performed, the paper reported.
Yuan, who founded the Beijing-based Jianhao Group and made a fortune on the stock and treasury markets in the 1990s, was worth three billion yuan ($373 million) in 1996.
But when he ran into business difficulties, Yuan hired a hit man to dispose of his business partner, Liu Han, whom he blamed for the losses. The assassination attempt failed and Yuan was subsequently blackmailed by the man who had helped him find the hit man. Yuan paid his brother and cousin to shoot the blackmailer, according to an earlier report by Beijing News.