Fame is a double-edged sword and not many can handle it well. 21-year-old Lei Chunian learned his lesson the hard way. 6 years ago, he saved 7 classmates during the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake and thus honored as one of the "figures that move China" by CCTV and even became a torch carrier for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. However, 6 years later the national hero was put on a trial stand for fraud and faced up to 10 years jail time.
Fame gave him exposure and a promising future, he was admitted into a prestige high school without exam, he was recognized as a model student and gave speeches in front of thousands of teachers and peers, he was on national TV many times when accepting awards and carrying the torch for the Beijing Olympic Games.
Perhaps that’s when Lei got a little carried away. He started to make his sudden fame a license for behave badly. He skipped classes to spend a good amount of money in Internet Cafe. He told others that he was well connected and through his connection, he could help people become flight stewardess, enter good school, buy driver’s license etc. 21 people bought into his fame and lies and were scammed for 460,000 yuan (about 75,000 USD).
10 family members attended his trial, some were holding his award certificates perhaps to beg lighter sentence from the judge. However, it was said that Lei showed no sign of regret, and pleaded guilty to all the fraud charges but disagreed with just 3 details: he did tried to help his girlfriend to get a job as flight stewardess but failed so he spent all the money; he also did try to help other 2 friends with jobs and ended up spending their money too. Regarding another charge for lying about buying driver’s license, he said: "For that I really don’t have a clue, it was pure scam."
Due to the gravity of the circumstances, the trial will continue on another day.