A 23-year-old who used his charm to swindle 10 women was sentenced to 13 years and nine months in prison by Shanghai's Nanhui District People's Court on Wednesday.
Tao Zhigang, a native of neighboring Jiangsu Province, was charged with cheating the women of 1.45 million yuan (US$211,988). The court also fined him 800,000 yuan and ordered him to compensate his victims.
A woman surnamed Yu, who had a large income, was one of Tao's most vulnerable targets. She lost more than 800,000 yuan which she loaned to Tao. Yu met Tao at a friend's party in April last year. Tao told her that he was the general manager of a company and his father was the chairman of a corporation. He said he owned a lot of properties and a number of luxury cars.
Yu believed Tao's stories and soon became his girlfriend. A month later, Tao claimed he had invested in a project near Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province and needed to raise capital. Yu lent him more than 800,000 yuan.
But late last year, Yu received a call from a woman who claimed to be Tao's fiancée. The woman warned Yu that she had been cheated and that there were other victims. Yu alerted police.
Investigations later showed that between 2005 and February 2008, when he was arrested, Tao had persuaded 10 women, including Yu, to lend him huge sums of money. He would meet these women either on the Internet or at parties and impress them with his flashy car and expensive apartment.
Tao returned only 30,000 yuan to one of the victims after his arrest.
(Shanghai Daily August 28, 2008)