Car plate scam fraudster held

A woman confessed to the fraudulent sale of what she falsely claimed to be Shanghai car plates that were unsold at auctions, police said yesterday.

A woman confessed to the fraudulent sale of what she falsely claimed to be Shanghai car plates that were unsold at auctions, police said yesterday. 

Seven people paid the suspect, surnamed Pan, about 1 million yuan (US$151,150) for the car plates, which she had claimed to have access through “insiders at the plate auctioning company.” None of the seven were given the car plates.

Shanghai car plates are sold each month at auctions held by the Shanghai International Commodity Auction Company. A very small percentage of bidders are successful. Last month, just 4.8 percent of more than 226,000 bidders were successful.  

A few successful bidders fail to collect their car plates in time each month, but these plates would then be allocated to the next auction, police said. 

Authorities said there was no possibility that “unwanted car plates” could be sold to non-bidders through “private channels.”

In October, police in Putuo District began an investigation after one of the fraud victims, a woman surnamed Hu, filed a report. She said she gave Pan a deposit of 30,000 yuan in September after Pan assured her that she knew officials of the auction firm and could acquire a Shanghai car plate for her at the average bid price. 

Since July, the average bid price of Shanghai car plates has exceeded 90,000 yuan.

Pan, however, failed to hand Hu a car plate in October, and was unwilling to return the deposit.

According to police, Pan said she used the money from her victims to pay the debts of her company, which was in financial straits.


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