A former traffic police officer from the south-central province of Khanh Hoa was sentenced to 14 years in jail on Monday for embezzling motorbike registration fees.
Charged with abuse of power and embezzlement, Le Thi Minh Trang, 30, was the sole defendant at the trial where she claimed she was only following orders.
The indictment read at the Nha Trang People's Court said Trang was assigned to collect registration fees from motorbike owners, issue receipts and file records of the transactions at her office.
Prosecutors say she found a way to write two different amounts on the receipts copies, forcing residents pay roughly double than the official price of VND200,000 per bike.
The court said Trang pocketed the difference.
The scam generated an illicit income of over VND2 billion (around US$95,000) as it went on for three and a half years until its discovery in May 2011 when Trang took an academic leave.
Trang was found to have spent VND41.6 million ($1,970) of the money.
She was expelled from the Vietnamese police force at the end of August 2011.
But during her trial, which started Friday, Trang said she played a small role in the scheme.
She said she was in charge of only one of five stages in the whole license plate registration process.
Le Thi Minh Trang, a former officier of the Khanh Hoa traffic police force, was sentenced to 14 years in jail on August 25, 2014 for embezzling motorbike registration fees. Photo: Lien Phuc
“I alone couldn't commit this crime,” she said.
She said she had forwarded most of the ill-gotten money to her boss at the time, a woman only identified as Ph.T.Kh, deputy head of vehicle registration division at the Khanh Hoa Traffic Police.
Trang offered no evidence to back her claim, which her former boss denied.
The indictment mentioned 11 other officers from the Khanh Hoa Police who committed similar wrongdoings and six senior officers who failed to supervise the fee collection.
But Khanh Hoa Police director only imposed cash fines on the six superiors and reassigned the 11 others based on evidence that "they aimed for personal gains."
The court summoned 765 eyewitnesses and 167 people with an interest in the case, many of whom did not show up.