The former head of Vietnam real estate exchange received a life sentence on Tuesday for cheating people into fake projects.
Nearly 400 people were lured into pouring more than VND340 billion (US$16 million) into four fake property projects in Hanoi that Le Hong Bang had established in 2009, according to the Hanoi People's Court indictment.
Bang was charged with fraud for appropriating others' money, news website VietNamNet reported.
His scam was assisted by Hoang Van Cuong and Ha Tuan Linh, two property firm directors who are wanted by the police.
The three made their companies investors in the projects.
Bang said he had transferred two-thirds of the money to Cuong and Linh.
Since the investigation began in late 2009, the exchange director has returned money to 131 people and has been unable to pay the rest.
Many victims at the court still believed that the projects were real.