Li Yanxia was also fined 2.67m yuan

BBC reports that a Chinese woman who adopted 118 children has been jailed for 20 years for fraud.

54-year-old Li Yanxia is a former orphanage owner. She was once considered a philanthropist for adopting 118 children, earning her the nickname ‘Love Mother’.

In 2006, Li drew attention by adopting dozens of children in Wu’an after her ex-husband allegedly sold their son to a trafficker for 7000 yuan. She then became one of the richest women in Hebei.

On Wednesday Wu’an Court in Hebei found Li guilty of extortion, fraud, forgery and disturbing social order.

Li was given 20 years in prison and was fined 2.67m yuan (USD $388,000). Her boyfriend Xu Qi was also charged also with disturbing social order, extortion, fraud and intentional injury. Qi given 12.5 years in jail and a fine of 1.2m yuan.

Fourteen other accomplices were convicted and were jailed for up to four years.

Wu’an Court said Li had “abused the orphanage’s influence”.

“[She] committed fraud together with the gang amongst other crimes to obtain vast economic benefit,” said a post released by the Wu’an City People’s Court on Weibo.

Li had over 20 million yuan and $20,000 in her bank accounts as well as luxury vehicles. Police found that she had been engaging in illegal activities since 2011.

The ‘Love Mother’ also reportedly used some of her adopted children to disrupt work on construction sites. She would make them run under trucks to prevent construction from continuing and then would blackmail the construction companies.

When Li was detained in May 2018, there were were 74 children left in the village. The children have since been transferred to government and schools facilities.