China has executed a businessman convicted of bilking thousands of investors out of $416 million in a bogus ant-breeding scheme, state media reported Thursday. The official Xinhua news agency said Wang Zhendong, who had been found guilty of fraud and sentenced to death in February 2007, was executed in Liaoning Province on Wednesday.
Wang, chairman of Yingkou Donghua Trading Group, had promised returns of up to 60 percent for investors who purchased ant-breeding kits from two companies he ran.
Ants are used in some traditional Chinese medicinal remedies, which can fetch a high price. Wang sold the kits, which cost $25, for $1,300, the local news media reported earlier.
Wang attracted more than 10,000 investors from 2002 to June 2005, when investigators shut down his companies. The closure of his business set off a panic among small-time players who saw their life's savings disappear overnight.
Xinhua had reported that one investor committed suicide after realizing he had been duped. Investigators put the size of the fraud at $416 million. Only $1.28 million was recovered.
December 13, 2008
From the International Herald-Tribune:
By Steve Sailer on 12/13/2008