Beijing, Aug 7 (IANS) A man was Wednesday sentenced to 15 years in prison for organising an online pyramid scheme worth 24 billion yuan (around $4 billion) and cheating more than 1.9 million people in China.
Ying Jiancheng from Jinhua city in Zhejiang province was found guilty of organising the pyramid scheme, which is banned according to Chinese law. Ying was also fined two million yuan, Xinhua reported.
The pyramid scheme was based around shopping website Wanjia Gouwu. The website initially offered discounts to consumers on purchases made through it.
However, the website later asked consumers to buy products at a discount while promising refunds based on the full retail value of the products over time.
Using this trick, the company recruited more than 1.9 million members across China, leaving it unable to honour its commitment to give members full refunds on their purchases.
The outstanding debt for members of the website stood at 773 million yuan as of June 11, 2012, the day the website was shut down by police.