Three men have gone on trial in Beijing for allegedly posing as PLA generals to trick 13.5 million yuan (HK$17 million) from a bank manager.
They set up a fake military committee and bank as part of the scam, according to the Beijing Morning Post.
The defendants have denied the charges, the Post reported.
Li Wanyong, 54, Zhao Dongming, 50, and Han Guozhao, 60, created a fake "construction and development foundation committee of the People's Liberation Army" in August 2012, the Post reported.
They claimed they were PLA generals and wanted to use the committee to establish a state-owned bank for privitisating state assets. They lured the banker by promising to make him president of the their bank and ensure he was made an admiral.
The suspects convinced the manager to give them 500,000 yuan for office supplies, 3 million yuan for 50 vehicles and 10 million yuan for press conferences, the report said.
The banker grew suspicious when the press conferences never happened, and contacted police.
Police searched Li's home and found an undisclosed amount of money and falsified military certificates in a bag. Li said Han had dropped the bag off and he wasn't aware of its contents.
"I did receive money [from Han], but I didn't … plan anything," Li told the court. He had never heard of the bank manager and didn't know Zhao, he said.
Li said Han showed him documents that purportedly showed the establishment of the foundation committee, and tried to get him to join.
"If I had stamped these certificates, I would take responsibility, even if you gave me the death penalty. But [Han] left the bag … and I never even opened it before," said Li, who suffers from hypertension and appeared in court in a wheelchair. "If your friend asks you to keep something for him, would you ask why?" Li asked the prosecutor.
Han and Zhao both denied roles in the scam, the Post reported.
Separately, a man hired a person to pose as an UN official in a bid to free his cousin from jail in Yueyang, Hunan province, state media reported.
They went to the prison warden's office and said they were promoting global peace, but were soon arrested, China National Radio reported online.