Beauty queen arrested in fake land sale scam

By Truong Ha, Khanh Huong   September 21, 2023 | 03:11 am PT
Beauty queen arrested in fake land sale scam
Pham Thi Minh Phi at a police station in Lam Dong Province for allegedly committing land sale scam. Photo by VnExpress/Hac Minh
A beauty queen in the Central Highlands' Lam Dong Province has been arrested for allegedly tricking a man in a land sale, stealing VND1.8 billion ($74,120) from him.

Pham Thi Minh Phi, who won the Miss Philanthropy title in the Miss Vietnam Business 2022 contest held in Da Nang, was arrested by Lam Dong police on Wednesday to be investigated for obtaining property by fraud.

In October 2022, a man in Da Lat of Lam Dong called Phi, requesting her cooperation to raise capital together and do business.

Phi, the general director of the Moc Hoa trade and service company, said she was negotiating to buy two land plots, spanning 1.7 ha in total, at VND22 billion.

She said she had found a buyer, who was willing to buy the land plots at VND23.6 billion. This would mean profit of VND1.6 billion.

Phi said she did not have the VND3 billion needed as a down payment to buy the land plots, so invited the man to raise the money with her. The man agreed to give Phi VND1.8 billion, without seeing the land plots first-hand or checking the legal information of the plots.

On November 2, 2022, Phi signed a contract stating that she would borrow VND1.8 billion from the man, and the profit he would gain after 20 days would be VND960 million. She promised she would pay the man VND2.76 billion, interest included, after 18 days.

However, after she had the money, Phi used it to pay off debts instead. To trick the man, Phi forged papers regarding the down payment and land use rights, photographed them and sent them to him.

The police said several others had accused Phi of the same behavior. An investigation is ongoing.

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