When Lin Chunping, a purportedly self-made Chinese business man, announced that he had purchased an American bank earlier this year, he made headlines in China.
Media outlets showered him with praise and reported his rags-to-riches story, which included West African gold and copper mines, the Los Angeles Times notes.
The Chinese government even offered him an advisory position.
Unfortunately, there was one small problem with the story: Atlantic Bank never existed.
Lin claimed that he had acquired the bankrupt Delaware-based Atlantic Bank for $60 million. He said it would rename the bank USA New HSBC Federation Consortium. But no such bank ever existed in Delaware.
Reporters eventually uncovered the truth, prompting a news conference and an apology.
Chunping is currently in jail, facing tax evasion charges.