BEIJING, China - A court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence of a Chinese businesswoman convicted of cheating investors of $200 million in the second case of its kind this year.

Su Yenyu's appeal of her January conviction was rejected by the High People's Court of the northern region of Inner Mongolia, the government's Xinhua News Agency said. Death sentences require review by China's top court before they can be carried out.

Su, 42, was convicted of cheating investors of 1.2 billion yuan ($200 million) after attracting money by promising high returns, Xinhua said. It said she diverted 552 million yuan ($87.6 million) to her own use.

A series of similar cases have highlighted abuses in largely unregulated informal lending that supports entrepreneurs who generate China's new jobs and wealth but often cannot get loans from the state-owned banking industry.

The communist government has been cracking down after a wave of defaults in the wake of the 2008 global crisis prompted protests by investors.

In May, a businesswoman in southeastern China was sentenced to death on charges of stealing 640 million yuan ($100 million) from investors.

Su began raising money in 2006 and invested in restaurants, health clubs, coal mines and farms in Erdos, a city in China's northern grasslands that is a centre for coal mining and natural gas drilling, according to Xinhua. It said her investments included lottery tickets worth 20 million yuan.

"The amount of the fraud was extraordinarily large and caused significant damage to both the country and the people," the court said, according to Xinhua. "In such cases the death penalty is mandatory."

Ren Wenxiang, a man who supported Su's endeavours, was sentenced to five years for fraud and fined 500,000 yuan ($80,000), according to Xinhua.

Loading Slideshow...
  • This undated picture shows a painting by Kanwal Krishna dated probably in 1930s of a young Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso, born in 1935), the traditional religious and temporal head of Tibet's Buddhist clergy. (KANWAL KRISHNA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A family inside a yurt, a felt covered tent frame, on the boders of Kirgizia, Sinkiang and Tibet, circa 1895. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Two men dressed in elaborate Tibetan costume with head dresses, embroidered coats and pointed slippers, circa 1900. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • This is an undated photo of the sacred city of Lhassa in Tibet, China. This monastery is the living place of the Dalai Lama. (AP Photo)

  • Unloading a small boat at Tien Shan Trip on the borders of Kirgizia, Sinkiang and Tibet, circa 1900. (Photo by A. Bayley-Worthington/Todd/Getty Images)

  • November 1903: Chinese soldiers demonstrate fear as a British officer attempts to photograph them on the Tibet frontier. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)