4 Vietnamese social insurers jailed for embezzling $288,000

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A Ho Chi Minh City court Wednesday sentenced four social insurance workers to 59 years in jail and their director to three years' probation for stealing over VND6 billion (US$288,000) from the city's insurance fund.

Nguyen Thi Hoa, former deputy director of Nha Be District Social Insurance Department, received 15 years, former cashier Do Phuong Anh 14 years, former accountant chief Nguyen Hoang Anh Tuan five year, and employee Bui Quoc Vinh 20 years.

In addition to embezzlement, Vinh was also charged with "forging official documents and seals," for committing the theft, together with a local resident Nguyen Anh Tuan, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Their former director Tran Thach Hong received three years' probation for "irresponsibility" while another employee, Hoang Duc Thuat, was given two years' probation for embezzlement.

The indictment said Tuan started the scam after noticing many local workers not collecting their social insurance books after quitting. The books recorded their official working time during which their employee has paid for their social insurance, and thus the books are evidence for them to collect pension later, or social assistances in case of sickness, pregnancy or accidents.

Tuan paid VND107 million ($5,140) between April 2009 and May 2010 to obtain 180 such books from local businesses, from which three employees also received one year of local rehabilitation for "trading official documents."

He colluded with Vinh to create fake names and forge related documents in order to fraudulently claim insurance money.

Other officials helped by forging the working years on the books so as to increase the insurance payouts.

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