A man from China almost pulled off a massive scam after outsmarting clueless buyers and selling a hunk of tree for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A Chinese man surnamed Lin from Zhejiang province was arrested by the police for scamming a customer. Apparently, the man sold a tree trunk that he bought for only $29 for a whopping $244,000.
How did he manage to do that?
According to Shanghaiist, the scammer made the buyer believe that what he had is a rare Phoebe zhennan, a large type of tree that grows in Sichuan, Hubei, and Guizhou. The tree is considered a national treasure and is under second-class protection.
Throughout history, it is said to be the wood used by emperors of China who were the only individuals to be able to afford it at the time. In the Ming Dynasty, rulers had their bedroom furnitures and thrones made from this wood. The zhennan was also used in the construction of the Forbidden City.
In order to make a fortune out of the regular tree trunk, Lin faked a certificate of authenticity which is what convinced the oblivious buyer to purchase it for $244,000.
However, the buyer quickly found out the truth after taking the trunk to an expert who confirmed that what he just spent thousands for a regular type of tree.