A rice trader in China, Lin Chunping, invented a United States bank and said that he purchased it. In January, the little known businessman earned fame when the media reported that he purchased Atlantic Bank, reportedly based in the state of Delaware. Chunping was praised by his small town, appointing him to a political position and calling his business experience ‘legendary.’ He claimed he purchased the bank for $60 million but there is no such bank in the state of Delaware.
Chunping is under arrest for an unrelated case of fraud and was forced to step down from his municipal appointment to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Chunping was arrested earlier in June and is 41-years-old. The creation of the fake bank has taken China’s fakery history to an all new level. In 2011, five fake Apple stores were found in the southwestern city of Kunming. The stores were modeled after the ones found in the United States. The staff even wore blue T-shirts.
In eastern Shandong province, the local press uncovered a fake university in the early days of June of this year. Students received a fake admission letter to the Shandong Institute of Light Industry, a real school, if they did not score high enough on the national college entrance exam to be admitted to a university. The students paid 30,000 yuan ($4,800) over four years to go to the school. Just a couple of weeks prior to graduation all of the students found out that they would not be issued diplomas because they were not officially enrolled in the school. Instead, it was a private training program that rented space from the school and the program director has vanished.
Chunping allegedly told reporters in China that it took two years to come to terms on the purchase of the supposed bank in Delaware and that the bank declared bankruptcy in 2008 because of the economy. Chunping even told reporters that the bank had been in business for some 85 years. The story of the bank purchase was so well-received in China because it signaled a triumph for China and a defeat for the United States.
“People were shocked that an obscure businessman bought a foreign bank and it was a U.S. bank nonetheless. He wasn’t even a banker to begin with,” said Zhu Xiaochuan, a researcher on China’s financial law at CEIBS Lujiazui Institute of International Finance in Shanghai. “The news must be credible because it was in mainstream media. The public were amazed how wealthy Wenzhou businessmen were.”
Chunping even renamed the bank USA New HSBC Federation Consortium Inc. and said that the bank had already brought in $40 million in deposits with the prospect that a profit of $5-$6 million could be made annually. The fake bank was reported in March by the media and Chunping said he made everything up in order to increase his social status and to acquire future opportunities in banking. Authorities do not suspect that Chunping made any money off of his false claims.