Bank ordered to reimburse nearly $11 mln to customer in fraud case

By Ky Hoa   November 24, 2018 | 02:43 pm GMT+7
Bank ordered to reimburse nearly $11 mln to customer in fraud case
Bank tellers receive customers at an Eximbank office, as shown in a file photo by VnExpress.

A court has ordered Eximbank to reimburse $10.48 million to a customer whose money was stolen by a former employee.

On Friday, the HCMC court also sentenced Ho Ngoc Thuy, 32, an employee at the local bank's HCMC branch, to 4 years and 6 months in prison for "negligence causing severe damage to state, organization or business’ property."

Thuy's five accomplices, also coworkers at the bank, received suspended sentences of 2-3 years for the same charge.

According to the indictment, Chu Thi Binh, a seafood company owner, had been making large deposits at the branch since 2007.

This gave her VIP status, and the branch's then deputy director Le Nguyen Hung was assigned to personally handle her transactions.

Taking advantage of her trust and using forged documents, in 2014, Hung allegedly started to withdraw money from her 11 saving accounts and deposit it into an account he had opened in the name of his wife's aunt.

Hung also abused his employees' trust to forge withdrawal and deposit slips to steal VND19 billion ($812,660) from two other customers’ accounts, the indictment said.

Hung's fraud was only discovered after he quit the bank in 2017 and Binh discovered that a huge sum was missing from her accounts. As he’d already fled abroad, an international arrest warrant has been issued for Hung.

Thuy and five of her coworkers were arrested and brought to trial for failing to comply with banking regulations, enabling Hung to steal the money.

Binh claimed that Eximbank owed her the principal money that had been taken deposited in three savings account, VND245 billion ($10.48 million), as well as interest worth VND103 billion ($4.41 million).

Customer at fault, too

The bank's representative argued that Binh was also at fault in the case, as she had signed documents authorizing Hung to handle her accounts despite their being incomplete.

Furthermore, she did not check her saving accounts, enabling Hung to transfer her money into other accounts undetected.

"Binh cannot use the excuse that she trusted Hung so much that she was not vigilant. If Binh was more cautious, then Hung's actions would have been discovered early on and the losses would not have gone up to VND245 billion," the representative said and asked the panel of judges to consider these circumstances in order to give a fair judgment.

The bank also rejected the argument that it had loosened its regulations in order to keep customers, enabling Hung to commit the fraud.

"Eximbank did not issue any instruction for Hung to persuade customers to sign transactions," the bank's representative asserted.

In response, Binh's lawyer Phan Trung Hoai argued that his client had trusted Hung because he was the branch's deputy director, not an ordinary employee.

Hoai also argued that while Binh was careless when signing the authorization documents, if Eximbank employees had properly followed banking regulations, Hung couldn't have committed his crime. As such, the bank was liable to pay his client both the principal and interest she was owed, he said.

 
 
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