In 2010, Lin Chunping became a financial celebrity, sort of like a younger, Chinese Warren Buffett. Somehow, even though Lin had jack shit in the way of banking qualifications, he had managed to negotiate the rights to a bankrupt American bank -- the Delaware-based Atlantic Bank, which had gone under in 2008. He renamed it the totally legit-sounding USA New HSBC Federation Consortium Inc., presumably hollowing out the base of an undersea volcano for the home office.
"The laser crocodiles ran into production issues, but we finished the acid pit well ahead of schedule."
Lin now had $40 million in deposits lined up, and as a result of his success, he landed a cushy position on a Chinese government advisory board. Meanwhile, the notoriously censored state-run media in China declared his business skills to be "legendary."
Well, that's one way to put it.
Lin Chunping, seen here frolicking in a mystic glen.
The problem with becoming a media sensation is that sometimes the news is read by people who actually know things. In Lin's case, journalists familiar with American banking took the wild step of actually double-checking his claims. It's not just that he was exaggerating his success with the Atlantic Bank in Delaware, it's that there was no such bank.
Nor was there any HSBC-licensed bank in Delaware (by then they weren't entirely convinced that Delaware was even a place).
Lin admitted that he'd made "exaggerations" to gain social status, which makes us wonder if he wasn't just telling all of this to a cute girl at a party when some government official overheard and said "You're hired!" The truth can't be much stupider, since either way it appears that in China, if you use strong enough words and enough exclamation points, no one will double-check a thing on your resume.
Also, for Chinese police, the week is apparently one long casual Friday.