An unemployed man in eastern China was recently found to have swindled about 800,000 yuan (about $120,000) from multiple women since 2014 while pretending to be a government official.
The Modern Express, a regional newspaper in Nanjing, reported that the suspect, surnamed Ding, frequented a mahjong parlor. There, he boasted his supposed credentials as the director of a provincial development and reform committee.
In 2014, Ding became acquainted with a fellow mahjong player, a woman surnamed Huang, who was impressed by his extravagant gambling habits when at the parlor. He told her that his committee was raising funds for a subordinate enterprise with a promised interest rate on return of 15 percent.
Huang became interested in this prospect and, after Ding’s “hesitant” agreement, decided to participate in the fund.
Huang sold a 500,000-yuan home to give to Ding for the project, as he told her that no smaller sum could be accepted. Ding claimed that the returns could be collected within two years.
But by the time the two years were up, Ding suddenly informed Huang that the program was under investigated by higher authorities and that she should expect delays before getting her money back.
This made Huang suspicious and, doing some investigation into the committee that Ding claimed to head, discovered that his name was nowhere on the member list. She reported him to the police.
Over the years, Ding had become so thoroughly accustomed to his fake identity that he even told his family members that he was the director of the development and reform committee.
Lost deep in character, Ding, now being charged with fraud, repeatedly told the police that he was his fake identity. Aside from Huang, he admitted to deceiving two other women for a total sum of 800,000 yuan.
“I got too deep into my character,” Ding said. “I could no longer tell the lie from the reality.”