BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- Sometimes the scammer just turns out to become, well, the scammee.

A former Harvard University instructor of medicine who was arrested on Tuesday for conning friends, colleagues and Internet acquaintances out of $600,000 was himself duped when he trusted other swindlers with the money, police said.

Weidong Xu, 38, quickly lost his ill-gotten loot by investing it in a dubious Nigerian business offer he received by e-mail. The spam message promised gains of $50 million, police said.

"He's as smart as can be," said Boston police detective Steve Blair. "But greed got the better of him."

Weidong was arraigned on larceny charges at the Roxbury District Court in Boston Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. He is being held on $600,000 bail.

Weidong started his scam in July when he told his 35 unsuspecting donors he was trying to set up a SARS research center in China at the peak of respiratory disease's epidemic.

One of his friends even went so far as to take out a second mortgage on his house to lend him money.

Police said they arrested Weidong, a citizen of China, after he was spotted quarreling with one annoyed donor who wanted his $5,000 back.

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/US/North...eut/index.html