A Californian man has pleaded guilty to kidnapping a Chinese citizen who died after he was held to ransom and beaten.
Anthony Valladares, 28, kidnapped Ruochen “Tony” Liao from a shopping mall in the San Gabriel area of Los Angeles in 2018, the US attorney’s office claims.
Mr Liao, also 28, owned a luxury car dealership near his home in Santa Ana, Southern California, which sold Porsches and Bentleys, a statement said.
Valladares lured Mr Liao into a minivan in the mall car park and held him to ransom, prosecutors say.
He sent threats to his parents in China, demanding £1.55m ($2m) be paid into his Chinese bank account.
When they refused to meet his demands, Mr Liao was badly beaten and repeatedly shocked with a stun gun.
He was held in a closet at a property in Corona, a city in River County, and died from his injuries the day after, according to court documents.
His body was buried in the Mojave Desert and was discovered last year.
After taking a plea deal, Valladares, of Pasadena, is likely to get between 12 and 25 years in prison.
The minivan driver, Alexis Ivan Romero Velez, 24, of Azusa, last month pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and is awaiting sentencing.
Chinese nationals Guangyao Yang, 27, and Peicheng Shen, 34, who were living in West Covina at the time of the kidnapping, are in custody in China on charges relating to the kidnapping.
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