Woman impersonates Australian consulate employee to swindle man out of $398,000

By Viet Tuan   April 2, 2024 | 07:38 pm PT
The Hanoi police have arrested a woman for allegedly pretending to work for the Australian consulate and swindling a man out of nearly VND10 billion (US$398,000).

In 2012 Le Thi Tuyet Mai, 38, of Ha Dong District had borrowed VND1.2 billion from an unidentified man, now 42, but was unable to repay it, police said Tuesday.

When he demanded the money back she told him it had been used to send people to work in Australia.

She lied to him that the Australian embassy owed him the money, and registered his name and information as the beneficiary of the amount.

Le Thi Tuyet Mai when she was arrested in Hanoi. Photo by police

Le Thi Tuyet Mai when she was arrested in Hanoi, April 2024. Photo by police

Ten years later, in May 2022, Mai called the man, changing her voice and claiming to be a consulate employee who would help him reclaim the money. But she said he had to pay a fee to get it back.

To gain his trust, Mai added the man to what she purported to be an embassy employees’ chat group. She had created all the accounts, all fake, herself.

It had messages back and forth about the money the man was owed.

Falling prey to Mai’s trickery again, the man paid the requested fees but was always told about "complications," "late payments," and "incorrect codes," and the need for further payments, failing which he would be "legally responsible."

Over a year between May 2022 and July 2023 he ended up transferring VND8.7 billion on 100 occasions.

Mai used all the money for her personal expenses and repaying her other debts.

During questioning by the police, Mai confessed her crime.

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