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NANNING, April 27 (Xinhua) -- A court in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Sunday sentenced 118 people for their involvement in a pyramid fund raising scam.
The defendants, including leaders and major members of the pyramid scheme, were given jail terms from 10 years to one year and seven months for organizing pyramid selling activities by Nanning Intermediate People's Court in Guangxi's capital.
The multi-level marketing network, running since 2009, had nearly 5,000 members. Each new member was asked to pay 3,800 yuan (600 U.S. dollars) to 69,800 yuan on the promise of profits and promotions, the court heard.
The scam involved more than 100 million yuan.
Members of the network came from several provinces or regions, including Xinjiang, Anhui, Sichuan, Shandong and Gansu. The youngest member was aged 26, the oldest 69.
The 40-tier pyramid ring was busted in April 2012.
Pyramid selling has been banned in China since 1998 but has remained rife in many less-developed regions. The fraud has evolved from touting fake products to more sophisticated fund-raising chicanery and has extended onto the Internet.