Former Hanoi firm head gets life for duping foreigners

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A Hanoi court sentenced Nguyen Thanh Ha to life on Tuesday, for cheating nine foreigners out of VND8 billion (US$411,200).

The con man's schemes were linked to trumped-up development projects in Africa.

Ha, 52, former director of Thanh Ha Company in Hanoi, called for investments for three fabricated real-estate projects - in Nigeria, Moldova, and Ghana Republic - between June 2007 and March 2009.

Ha presented documents bearing forged stamps and signatures from the Bank of North Dakota, the FBI and CIA to lure investors. All documents have been confirmed as fake, said judges at the two-day hearing at Hanoi People's Court.

Ha asked foreigners for loans claiming his millions of dollars were stuck in the US due to transfer formalities. He promised to return the money with interest.

He managed to dupe nine people before he was caught, red-handed, last March, receiving $10,000 from a potential partner.

In early 2007, Ha also cheated local investors by fabricating several projects. He will be tried separately for the other charges.

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