Life sentence for swindler promising Australia AIDS treatment, US citizenship

By Trong Nghia   June 14, 2024 | 02:02 am PT
Life sentence for swindler promising Australia AIDS treatment, US citizenship
Ho Van Toan stands before the HCMC People's Court, June 13, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Trong Nghia
A man in Ho Chi Minh City was sentenced to jail for life for swindling over VND40 billion (US$1.57 million), including VND3.6 billion from an HIV-positive friend in a fake treatment scam.

Ho Van Toan, 34, was sentenced to life on Thursday by the HCMC People’s Court for obtaining property by fraud, and five years in prison for fabricating an organization's seal.

In 2018, Toan met a man called Nhan on social media. After meeting several times, Toan agreed to a company with Nhan.

When Nhan went for a medical check-up before entering the company, he discovered that he had HIV, and told Toan.

Toan then told Nhan that Australia had found a cure for HIV and was testing it. He promised Nhan he would secure him a treatment package worth VND90 million.

Once Toan gained Nhan's trust, from 2018 to 2020, Toan gave numerous reasons he needed payment, such as purchasing equipment, plane tickets, drugs and hiring doctors, and so demanded VND3.6 billion from Nhan's family.

By the end of 2020, Nhan’s family demanded their money back as Toan had not fulfilled his promises.

As he had no money to pay, Toan looked for online documents with seals from the State Bank of Vietnam, before editing them and tricking the family into believing Toan was returning the money.

The family reported Toan to the police in May 2022.

Additionally, in 2022, Toan rented an apartment from An. As he saw that An was affluent, Toan gave him gifts multiple times to gain his trust, while saying he himself had a large inheritance.

Toan said he needed money to pay taxes to gain his inheritance, so he borrowed the money from An, adding that he would share some of the inheritance with him.

After gaining An’s trust, Toan promised he would help An’s son gain U.S. citizenship and share some of the inherited money and land. As such, An transferred Toan a total of VND36.5 billion.

But as time passed and Toan did not pay him back, An grew suspicious and demanded his money. Toan transferred him VND15.3 billion before running away.

During his time on the run, Toan also tricked another person for around VND900 million with similar schemes.

In total, Toan swindled over VND40 billion from his victims.

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