Friday, February 22, 2008

The Great Ant Scam of China

Death Penalty For Chinese Ant Farm Scammer
A Chinese business executive was sentenced to death for swindling $385 million from investors in a bogus ant-breeding scheme, a court official said Thursday.

Wang Zhendong, chairman of Yingkou Donghua Trading Group Co., had promised returns of up to 60 percent for buying kits of ants and breeding equipment from two companies he set up, the reports said.

Ants are used in some traditional Chinese medicinal remedies, which can fetch a high price. Wang sold the kits, which cost $25, for $1,300, the Xinmin Evening News and other newspapers reported.

Wang promoted his products through advertising and drew in more than 10,000 investors between 2002 and June 2005, when investigators shut down his companies, the Web site of People's Daily reported.

Prosecutors told the court in northeast China that one investor committed suicide after realizing he had been duped, and only $1.28 million of the swindled money had been recovered by the time the case was filed with the court last June, Xinhua News Agency

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