Old couple swindled for 1.51m yuan

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-5-6 22:23:01

A Jiangsu Province man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for swindling 1.51 million yuan ($242,406) from a couple of elderly house hunters in Baoshan district, the local court said Tuesday.

The defendant, Liu Heping, 28, was charged with fraud for pretending to sell the couple an apartment that he neither owned nor had the right to sell, according to a press release from Baoshan District People's Court.

Liu and an acquaintance, Zhang Fang, who was tried separately in Yangpu District People's Court, came up with a scheme in April 2013 for Zhang to pose as the owner of the apartment he was renting so they could sell it to an unsuspecting buyer.

Liu took a job at a real estate agency close to the apartment and began working as an agent, according to the Baoshan court's press release. Within about 10 days, Liu showed the apartment to an elderly couple who had shown interest in the property.

On June 18, Liu took the couple to meet Zhang, who showed them a counterfeit State identification card and a phony deed to the apartment. The couple really liked the apartment and paid Liu and Zhang a deposit, the court said.

Liu spent 2,000 yuan on a real estate contract, which the couple signed with Zhang to buy the apartment for 1.65 million yuan.

Because Zhang claimed he was in the middle of a divorce and needed the money as soon as possible, the couple agreed to pay him 800,000 yuan in cash immediately, the court said.

About a month later, the couple paid Liu 700,000 yuan when he gave them a photocopy of the phony property deed and handed over the keys to the apartment. They also gave him an additional 10,000 yuan as a commission.

Zhang gave Liu 20,000 yuan of the money he received and then vanished. The couple didn't realize that they had been swindled until September, when the apartment's owner showed up and showed them the real deed to the property.

The court did not disclose how police tracked down Liu and Zhang, nor did it say whether the couple was able to recover any of their money.

The court also fined Liu 20,000 yuan.

Global Times

Posted in: Society, Metro Shanghai

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