Beijing: A rural cooperative posing as a bank cheated more than 200 unwitting depositors of USD 32 million, promising higher returns on their deposits in eastern China.
The fake bank ensnared its customers over the past year with a promise of higher interest rates.
The scam was unravelled only after a customer, who was denied withdrawal of his money, reported it to authorities, according to police in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province.
Police said the cooperative had decorated itself exactly the same as a bank, with LED screens, a queueing machine and uniformed clerks.
It also faked documents to pass itself as an authorised financial institution, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.
One legal representative of the cooperative and four "managers" have been detained on suspicion of illegally absorbing public money.
Most victims were businessmen from neighbouring Zhejiang Province.
Police are still trying to locate the victims of the scam.