Vietnam couple cheat Australian out of $381,000 in curse scam

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A married couple in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang are set to be prosecuted for cheating a Vietnamese Australian of nearly VND8 billion ($381,000) in a "curse scam."

According to provincial police, in June 2010 the Australian woman, L.Q.P, asked an acquaintance in Vietnam to ask Hua Thi Dieu, 49, and her husband, 52-year-old Cao Van Anh, who worked as fortunetellers, to foretell her future via phone.

Dieu convinced P. that her love and business matters were being disturbed by devils. P. then sent money to the couple so they could organize rituals to pray for her.

In August that same year when P. visited Vietnam, she met with the couple and they held more rituals, police said.

The rituals continued after P. returned to Australia and sent them between AUD$3,000 and 10,000 ($3,084-10,200) each time.

It was only in February this year, when she visited Vietnam again, that P. discovered that she was being cheated and filed a complaint with the police.

On March 6, Dieu was caught receiving VND80 million ($3,800) from P.'s family who were paying her because she kept sending P. text messages saying that if P. did not pay to organize more rituals, she would suffer serious bad luck.

Dieu later told police that she and her husband spent the money buying gold, cars, house, and depositing cash in a bank.

So far police have returned over VND2.6 billion ($124,000) and nearly $10,000 to the victim.

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