Police in the northern province of Hung Yen have arrested a woman who defrauded around 200 pagodas by claiming she was collecting money for charity.
Nguyen Thi Thanh, a 40-year-old local, forged papers to make it look as though she belonged to various organizations for disabled and disadvantaged people, Cong An Nhan Dan (People's Police) newspaper reported.
The police interrogated Thanh for hours until she confessed to the scam.
Thanh successfully robbed hundreds of millions of dong before being arrested on September 7. One monk doubted her legitimacy and called the police.
Her victims include monks in Hanoi and other northern provinces.
She started by selling toothpicks which supposedly supported the blind people who made them.
But she then realized that asking for money directly saved time and earned more.
Every pagoda she visited gave her at least VND1 million (US$48) and some were duped into donating between VND5 and 10 million.
She once found a baby's birth certificate and brought it to a pagoda that was looking to adopt orphans, cheating them out of VND5 million she said would go toward adoption application fees.
She managed to trick the monks out of an additional VND3 million by claiming that the baby had an 80-year-old grandfather who needed to buy and prepare a coffin for a his funeral.
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