Woman swindles $4.4 billion

2017-07-06 23:12:12 | From:http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1055279.shtml

A Chinese woman, together with his Malaysian husband, reportedly netted 30 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) in the latest of scams that have sprung up in recent years in the country, despite tightening private fund regulations and strong anti-fraud publicity.

The woman, 26-year-old Zhang Xuejiao from Changzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, allegedly absconded to Malaysia to seek refuge with her husband on June 11, Nanjing-based newspaper Modern Express reported Thursday.

Zhang's husband, whose name remains unknown, was reportedly a major shareholder of IGOFX, an online financial market trading platform registered in Vanuatu in 2012. Zhang established the company Yisheng Jinrong as the general agent for IGOFX in China, according to the report.

With an attractive slogan "Lie to make money" and bonus for membership, Yisheng Jinrong enrolled more than 400,000 Chinese people within half a year, the report said.

"People keep coming to the house wanting their money back, but I have not seen the family for at least one month," a neighbor of Zhang told the Modern Express.

Police in Changzhou and Nanjing have launched an investigation into the case, according to the newspaper.

IGOFX is a financial pyramid company and China is its second-largest market following Malaysia, according to FXword, a Chinese online news portal on foreign exchange.

Without any financial service or products, the company continues to expand its membership and makes money through members' investment, requiring a minimum of $100 for each new member.

Many members started to complain on their WeChat group that their accounts had been wiped out, or they could not withdraw their money on June 9.

About 10 days after Zhang's disappearance, a desperate member committed suicide and posted a picture of his bleeding wrist on the WeChat group, viral pictures showed.

The IGOFX case is the latest example of incessant scams in recent years in China, mostly targeting the elderly and rural residents.

Aged people and rural residents are two groups of people who have desire to make money but have few investment channels, Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The available investment channels got even narrower for people with modest savings after the central government tightened regulations on private funds in 2016, preventing private funds from soliciting money from individuals who do not possess investment capital of at least 1 million yuan. The regulation was aimed at protecting ordinary people from risks associated with the frauds.

Recurring examples of people making money overnight and a growing market full of opportunities have added to people's desire for money and driven them to take risks, said Hu. Hu added that eliminating the fraud from the root will require a completed personal credit system and strict punishment for scammers.

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