A Ho Chi Minh City court has sentenced a Chinese man and a Vietnamese woman to seven years in prison for swindling many people out of VND490 million (US$21,870) in a phone scam.
Li Shi Min and his Vietnamese accomplice Huynh Thi Nhu Mai, both 32, were convicted of fraud, the People’s Court decided on Wednesday.
According to the indictment, Min came to Vietnam in April 2014 and joined some unidentified Chinese individuals in a phone scam racket.
The gang called their victims, claiming to be investigators and asking them to transfer money to their accounts. They promised to return the money to the victims after criminal allegations were cleared.
They always used a device that masked their numbers with a number that could be traced back to a government agency.
Min was tasked with withdrawing the money from ATMs in Vietnam and sending it to the racket leader in China, who remains at large. He was paid 5 percent of the withdrawn amount.
Mai was responsible for finding multiple bank accounts to receive the money from the victims.
The duo was arrested in August 2014 after a victim, Tang Thi Thu Cuc, filed a complaint telling police that she had sent money to an investigator and could not reclaim it.
Cuc told police that the one who contacted her said she was a suspect in a drug and money laundering investigation.
She was ordered to transfer VND300 million into a bank account
The account holder was identified as Huynh Thanh Phong, who told police that he was only hired by Mai to open it.