Police in the southern Vietnamese province of Bac Lieu have sought to charge a man with fraud for allegedly conning people out of more than VND20 billion (US$967,400) by claiming he could improve their business by praying to spirits.
Investigators on Wednesday said Nguyen Hong Thao, who used to be a stage actor in Ho Chi Minh City, had cheated five people between April 2009 and June 2010.
His victims were rich businessmen he had made friends with as an actor, and he had squandered away the money gambling, they said.
One, a local businessman only identified as H., had casually told Hieu about his difficulties, and the latter immediately promised to help solve the problem by invoking spirits.
He asked the man to make a small amount of money as an offering, promising to return it a week later. He got him to make many offerings, increasing the amount until H. realized Hieu had taken VND9.7 billion and refused to return VND8.4 billion.
The four other victims were from the same province and Ho Chi Minh City.
After the victims filed complaints, he left with his family to hide in the neighboring Kien Giang Province. There he cheated a farmer out of dozens of millions of dong, and was jailed for 18 months.
In 1994 he committed a fraud in Ho Chi Minh City and neighboring Tien Giang Province, and has been wanted by the police since.
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