Vietnam woman wanted for $96,000 labor export scam

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Police in Dong Nai Province in southern Vietnam have issued a warrant for a woman who allegedly cheated VND2 billion (US$96,000) from hundreds of people seeking jobs abroad.

The police said they had received accusations in April from 215 people, who had paid Nguyen Thi My money for jobs in Australia that never materialized.

Nguyen Huu Ly, chairman of Vinh Cuu District, said Saturday he has ordered Binh Loi Commune to report on the case.

Many victims said they had believed by a written promise from My that she would return all their money if they were not able to leave for Australia by July 10, 2011, because it carried the approval and signature of Vo Van Tong, the commune chairman.

Tong was aware that My was not qualified to export labor, police said.

My and her family left their home in Binh Loi Commune, Vinh Cuu District late last year, and their whereabouts are unknown, police said.

The 58-year-old started the scam by lying at a small party in August 2008 that she had contacts of several farms in Australia, who were looking for grape pickers for $3,000 a month.

She charged VND13 million ($624) each from the first 13 job seekers, including Nguyen Thi Kieu, a sister of My's sister-in-law and others that Kieu persuaded.

They said they were not required to submit any skills or health certificates, just a resume approved by local authorities.

In July 2009, although the first candidates had not left Vietnam, My managed to make Kieu recruit 11 more people, raising the price to VND25 million each.

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Later that year, she persuaded her sister Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh to introduce the offer and have 75 people sign up, while My herself lured 116 others into the scam.

Several victims said My had explained the delays by showing them a letter from Sinton Spence 762, a grape farm company in Sydney, that the company has been ordered by the Australian government not to receive further foreign workers as illegal immigration to Australia had increased because the country has not been hit hard by the economic crisis.

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