The Wenzhou rice trader who invented a fictitious US bank which he claimed to have bought last year has been sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday for the separate crime of issuing fabricated tax documents. Lin Chunping, 43, was accused of making 1,266 false value-added tax invoices worth 520 million yuan (HK$658 million) and selling them to companies across the country between September 2011 and May last year for profit, Xinhua reported, citing the city's intermediate court verdict. Lin charged firms that bought the fake invoices a levy of between 4 per cent and 6 per cent of the invoices' value. Lin was also found to have produced false tax rebate invoices worth 850 million yuan, as well as other fabricated vouchers. China News Services reported that the faked tax documents had defrauded the authorities of an estimated total of 190 million yuan in tax. Another six accomplices were given jail terms of less than 10 years, while two were acquitted. Lin was hailed last year as a role model by the local government after he claimed to have bought the fictitious "Atlantic Bank of America in Delaware" for US$60 million. Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang renowned for its entrepreneurs, even made him a member of its Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. But state media soon uncovered the hoax. Lin fled the city in May last year and was apprehended the following month in Zhuhai, Guangdong.