A former bank official in the northern port city of Hai Phong was sentenced to life for stealing nearly US$400,000 from a vault and replacing it with joss papers, on July 4.
Do Thi Thu Thuy, 43, former head of the cash branch at the Hai Phong Brach of Petrolimex Group Joint Stock Bank (PG Bank), was convicted of robbery, VietNamNet news site reported.
According to the indictment, Thuy found that her subordinates only checked the branch’s cash reserve every day by counting stacks of cash rather than individual banknotes.
She decided to replace the money with joss money – a common joss paper in Vietnam partly imitating real banknotes to be burnt as offerings to the dead.
Thuy confessed that she lost the stolen money on gambling, including so de -- an illegal numbers game based on the state lottery, allowing players to bet any amount they want for payoffs up to 80 times the original wager.
When caught, Thuy had blown all but 3,000 US dollars and 500 Euros.
Her ploy was detected in October 2013 when the bank conducted a detailed inspection of its cash reserves.
Police found Thuy had stolen $300,000 and 39,500 Euros between July and October 2013. She even forged official reports about the bank's cash reserve, they said.
The court on Friday also ordered Thuy to return all of the stolen money.