Notary public, bank official arrested in $310,000 fraud

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Police in Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday arrested a notary public and a bank official for their alleged involvement in the swindling of nearly VND6.4 billion (US$310,227).


Phan Thanh Van from the Notary Public's Office No.2 under the city's Department of Justice, and Le Tan Phu, who was in charge of credit at Nam A Bank's Binh Tay branch will be investigated together with Hoang Anh Tu, chief of the bank's sales office, police said.


Initial information showed that between 2007-2009 Duong Ngoc Phuong, who was arrested previously on fraud charges, collected documents of eight houses and land pieces from people and faked agreements where they agreed to sell houses and lands to her.


Without witnessing involved parties sign the agreements as regulated, Van ordered his subordinate to notarize them.


Phuong then paid registration and other fees before transferring her ownership of the houses and lands to people who agreed to own them on behalf of her, police said.


The woman later joined hands with Phu to make eight loans totaling nearly VND6.4 billion from the bank with the illegal documents.


Police said Phuong pocketed nearly VND5.9 billion ($286,000) of the money.


The case was discovered in October, 2009 when the bank couldn't sell the properties to get back money, because all the documents were illegal.


According to police, Phu and Tu failed to check the documents properly, while the former reported incorrect estimates of the properties.


Investigations into the case are still under way.


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