Depositors lose money from jewelry store in central Vietnam

By Duc Hung   January 8, 2024 | 07:00 pm PT
Depositors lose money from jewelry store in central Vietnam
Nguyen Vinh Tam, owner of a jewelry store that operates as a bank in Nghe An Province, central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung
Hundreds of people had made deposits worth nearly VND33 billion ($1.35 million) at a gold and jewelry store in central Vietnam for high interest rates, but many were not able to withdraw in eight years.

In the last two weeks a large group of people have often gathered at a gold and jewelry store in the central province of Nghe An demanding their money back.

One of them, 64-year-old Nguyet, said that she put a deposit of VND160 million into the store in 2016 with expectations to receive 9.6% interest rates a year, 3 percentage points higher than bank rates at the time.

The store owner Nguyen Vinh Tam, 54, gave her a confirmation document with the company’s seal and told her that she could withdraw anytime.

Nguyet received her interests for months until the end of 2016 when the owner told her that the business had become insolvent and could not let her withdraw.

Since then, she has not got her money back.

Another depositor, 72-year-old Thanh, said that Tam still owes him VND700 million, and he does not know when the payment will be made.

The store owner Tam said that hundreds of people in Yen Thanh District had made deposits of VND33 billion since 2016 when he started offering high interest rates.

He claims he intended to run a fair and legitimate business and not to defraud anyone, but the company ran into big debts in October 2016 and was not able to pay them back.

In the last eight years Tam had been selling off assets and paid VND23 billion to 196 customers.

Now there are 100 depositors asking for a combined over VND9 billion back. "If the people are willing to wait, I can pay them back within half a year," Tam said.

Local authorities have asked the police to come and keep order at Tam’s store in recent weeks. They are investigating the complaints of depositors.

The State Bank of Vietnam said that Tam was not permitted to operate his store as a bank.

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