The 3 men told a tale of buried Chinese gold

A Chinese five gods pot full of Jin Yuan Bao

Three poor Chinese men in Denver, Colorado told a woman a story.

The woman, Judy Gallenstein, listened carefully. A native of Beijing - her Chinese name was Xueyan Jia - she provided translation services for new immigrants.

The men said they were working on a construction site when they discovered a buried clay pot. Inside the pot was a faded yellow letter written in classic Chinese. But of more interest were the golden Buddhas and pieces of Jin Yuan Bao, a boat-shaped gold ingot that looks like a smile. The men had weighed the gold - there were 36 pounds of it, worth over $800,000.

Mrs. Gallenstein translated the letter, written by a man who lived in Denver in 1949. It said whoever found the treasure should keep half of it, and either find the man's sons or donate the remainder to charity.

The middle-aged men met with her again. They were nervous about the gold, because they didn't want their boss to find out they had taken it. They promised the gold to her for $180,000. They just wanted to be fair.

Mrs. Gallenstein felt like she had won the lottery.

And then she had a small moment of... something. Why didn't they let her touch the gold? She called a friend, a lawyer, who said he knew others in the Chinese community who had been approached by construction workers with a tale of buried gold.

She met with them again.

She said she wanted to pay them, but the bank was delaying her payment, and her stock sales were going slowly.

They drank tea together. They said prayers and burnt incense. She called them "big brother" and they called her "little sister."

Finally, she told them she had the money ready.

After she gave them the money and received the gold, they left her office, where Denver police, tipped off by Mrs. Gallenstein, arrested them.

The police discovered 383 gold-colored pieces, several copies of a fake will, and cash.

And Dejun Xu, 45, Yanwen Yang, 46, and Fuyan Li, 42, were charged with felony theft.

Chinese-American woman helps foil alleged gold scam in Denver - The Denver Post

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