3 face charges for trading fake gold at bank in southern Vietnam

By Gia Bach, Thanh Nien News

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(From left) Duong Thanh Tuan, Duong Thanh Gioi, and Phan Van Hai are charged with cheating an Agribank branch in the southern province of Ca Mau out of $886,000. Photo credit: Ca Mau police
Police in the southern province of Ca Mau proposed charges on Monday against three suspects for allegedly cheating a local bank out of over VND19 billion (US$886,000) with fake gold.
Duong Thanh Tuan, 34, a former gold inspector at the Dam Cung branch of the state-owned Agribank was charged with fraud along with his brother Duong Minh Gioi, 30, and Phan Van Hai, 33.
Police say that, at the end of 2009, Tuan owed VND150 million ($7,000) in gambling debts, so he purchased fake gold and asked one of his acquaintances to help mortgage it for cash at the bank.
After paying off his debts, Tuan continued the same trick with the assistance of Gioi and Hai.
Police said between 2009 and December 17, 2013, the trio mortgaged more than 1,000 taels, or 38 kilograms, of fake gold at the Dam Cung bank branch.
There were 72 contracts involved in the mortgages, one third of which were signed by local high schoolers hired by the group, they said.
Ca Mau police announced that they have dropped criminal negligence charges against three other bank employees, namely director Tran Xuan Phong, accountant Chau Thi Phuong Truc, and cashier Vo Truong Giang, due to a lack of evidence.
Police had previously announced that Phong signed 54 of the 72 mortgage contracts with Tuan who was responsible for ensuring the gold's authenticity.
They believed Phong was aware that Tuan had drafted the contracts and estimated the gold’s value and did nothing to intervene.
Many of the contracts lacked copies of depositor ID cards and many of the customers were under 18, but they were still approved by the director.
Phong and Giang were also said to have failed to notice that nearly half of the fake gold was actually never deposited at the bank.

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