Death for scams — don’t tell the AGs

I couldn’t resist this article in the Washington Times today — “Chinese ant scammer gets death.” Seems a Chinese entrepreneur was selling ant kits to investors in a phony ant-breeding scheme. According to the article he charged 10,000 investors $1300 each for the kits, which normally sold for $25. The Chinese use ants for medicinal use.

Curious about ants and medicine, I found an abstract on NIH’s website that notes:

Chinese ant extract preparations (CAEP) are a Chinese traditional medicine which is mainly used as a health food or drink for the treatment of rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic hepatitis, sexual hypofunction, and antiaging in China.

The abstract also seems to say that ant extract does do something:

In vitro tests showed that CAEP inhibited the production of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, an index of lipid peroxidation, in rat brain homogenate.

Unfortunately for the ant scammer, his penalty for the scam is death — don’t think his extract will help with that.

The death penalty is used broadly in China. Though usually reserved for violent crimes, it is also applied for nonviolent offenses that involve large sums of money or are deemed to have a pernicious social impact.

Hope the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general don’t pick up on this.