Man jailed for life for 1.3b yuan casino scam
A man in Zhongshan, Guangdong, has been sentenced to life in jail for fraud involving 1.32 billion yuan (HK$1.62 billion) that was gambled away in Macau over two years.
The Zhongshan Intermediate People's Court ruled on Wednesday that Deng Shengtang, 34, cheated 29 businessmen out of the money, and that his accomplice, Ou Jinming , scammed the victims out of a further 350 million yuan, in the name of borrowing money to operate a room at a Macau casino from July 2008 to September 2010.
Ou was sentenced to 13 years in jail and fined one million yuan for his part in the scam, in which the duo promised high interest rates to investors but actually used the money to gamble and buy luxury cars and apartments, unbeknownst to the businessmen, the Zhongshan Daily reported.
'Everybody was aware that Deng was in the gaming business before the fraud was exposed, but since the interest and loan repayments were on time at the beginning [of the scam], many people were happy to lend him money, without any knowledge that Deng was gambling away the money,' an unidentified source told the newspaper.
The case came to light in October 2009, when the owner of a courier company, who lent Deng 54 million yuan, fled after embezzling money he collected on behalf of his clients.
The company was located in Zhongshan's Guzheng town, China's biggest manufacturing hub for lights, where many manufacturers rely on couriering companies to deliver goods and collect payment for them.
Several hundred people protested outside the courier company office, and some even blocked the main road, drawing the attention of police, who soon after started searching for Deng and Ou.
They were caught in December 2010 in Wuzhou, in the southern autonomous region of Guangxi, as they tried to flee to Vietnam.
Deng, a high school graduate from an ordinary family in Guzheng, started working in 2008 as an agent for casinos, borrowing their chips and introducing clients to gambling, in exchange for commission.
Deng used the chips to bankroll Ou, who would use them to gamble at several big casinos in Macau.
Ou won more than HK$300 million in March and April 2009. And Deng took home more than 10 million yuan.
But their luck ran out in April 2010, when Ou lost not only his previous winnings, but more than 650 million yuan worth of chips borrowed from casinos.
Out of desperation, Deng went to a loan shark to pay back the casinos, and even hired another gambler - who lost more than 100 million yuan.
To pay back the loan shark, Deng borrowed money from mainland businessmen.
No information was given on how Deng managed to transport the money out of the mainland - a violation of mainland laws, which allow each person to leave with just US$50,000 a year.
Amount of money, in Hong Kong dollars, convicted fraudster Ou Jinming won at Macau casinos between March and April 2009