A Vietnamese woman who swindled roughly A$466,000 (US$359,000) from more than 300 Vietnamese students in Australia in an air ticket scam early this year has been sentenced to 18 months of home detention.
My Truc Le was also ordered to serve 32 hours of community work each month and pay compensation of an amount up to the maximum allowed to be ordered in the Local Court – A$100,000 (US$77,000), New South Wales Sergeant Bennett Nolan told Le’s victims in a letter sent on Tuesday.
However, Nolan said that it is very unlikely that most of the victims would be getting any of their money back.
“This is because even when an order is made at court, if the offender cannot pay the money then it just becomes an unpaid debt,” he said in the letter.
The victims of My Truc Le's air ticket scam report their cases to the New South Wales Police in a file photo. Photo credit: CTV.
The policeman said while the victims can pursue the matter through their own civil claim, “if the offender has no money left then this is often very difficult.”
New South Wales police began investigating Le in early January after receiving reports of her air ticket scam from hundreds of students.
The 24-year-old woman, known on Facebook as Vi Tran, cheated more than 300 Vietnamese students who wanted to buy Vietnam Airlines tickets to return home for the past Tet Lunar New Year holidays.
She offered to help them book the tickets at cheap prices. Each student would receive a reservation code from her after sending money to her account.
However, Le canceled the bookings soon later, before the tickets were officially issued.
Many students in Melbourne and Sydney were denied when trying to check in at airports.