Sad Story of a Lonely Chinese Woman

     VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – A fellow expatriate duped a lonely Chinese woman and her parents out of $345,000, the woman, now 21, claims in court.
     Chenying Jia sued Chiou M. Shi aka May Shi and her company, New Bridge Education Development, in British Columbia Supreme Court.
     Jia, who goes by the name Helen Jia in Canada, says she was “a lonely young Chinese girl a long way from home” when Shi befriended her in 2009, holding herself out as a “successful and honourable businesswoman.”
     Jia claims Shi told her that her own daughter was a Hong Kong movie star and that she rubbed elbows with politicians, including the premier of British Columbia and the president of the Philippines. Jia claims Shi told her and her parents that she would be “a trusted adviser who would stand in the role of a parent for the plaintiff in Canada.”
     But Jia says it was all a “sustained campaign to deceive” her and her parents. Between
     From February 2009 to June 2010, Jia says, she loaned more than $80,000 to Shi, who said the money was for short-term loans and unspecified investments.
     Jia claims that when she graduated from high school, Shi persuaded her to move into her one-bedroom apartment, because Vancouver was unsafe for a young girl to live alone.
     “May Shi came to exercise almost total, quasi-parental, control over the movements and decisions of the plaintiff, and in doing so she knowingly took advantage of the propensity in traditional Chinese culture for young people to obey the directions of their parents, or others in similar positions of authority,” the complaint states.
     Jia claims she was unable to attend college because she couldn’t pay tuition after giving so much to Shi.
     She claims that Shi lied to her parents, telling them that Jia was at the University of British Columbia, to keep the money flowing.
     Jia says that when she turned 19, Shi “began grooming” her to get more money out of her parents. She claims Shi cooked up a bogus deal for Jia to buy an apartment, but the property wasn’t actually for sale, and that Shi told her to lie to her parents by saying she already had signed a contract and paid a $50,000 deposit.
     Jia’s parents sent $270,000 for the property, but Shi told her to invest it in a restaurant in downtown Vancouver, according to the complaint.
     Jia claims Shi told her the investment was the “only way” for her to get permanent residency in Canada.
     After signing a fabricated real estate contract for the apartment, Jia says, she went to China to consult with her parents about the property, but gave Shi unlimited authority over her bank account before leaving.
     While Jia was in China, she says, Shi withdrew more than $230,000, claiming the money was all for the restaurant, and that she would pay the money back quickly and Jia be a “boss” at the business.
     Jia claims Shi transferred more than $130,000 to her company, co-defendant New Bridge Education Development.
     Jia claims Shit paid her back only $13,700, leaving a balance of $345,000. She wants the money, and damages for breach of fiduciary duty.
     Jia is represented by Robbie Fleming in Vancouver.

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