Man jailed for 2019 Bitcoin fraud

By Song Minh   March 1, 2022 | 08:36 pm PT
Man jailed for 2019 Bitcoin fraud
Tran Van Luat at the court in Hanoi for Bitcoin fraud, March 1, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Song Minh
A Hanoi court sentenced a man to 15 years in prison Tuesday for swindling two people out of VND5 billion ($219,000) by offering to sell them Bitcoin at a discount.

Tran Van Luat, 29, of the northern Bac Giang Province was found guilty of "fraudulent appropriation of assets."

In 2019 he claimed to be an employee of a Bitcoin trading firm in Hanoi and offered to sell to Nguyen Viet Anh, 29, and Ly Chan Nam, 42, of Ho Chi Minh City the cryptocurrency at a 7 percent discount to the market price.

The two were interested in the offer and traveled to Hanoi to meet Luat.

After a meeting on Sep. 2, 2019, they three struck a deal and Luat sold them one coin with the promised discount.

Two days later the two men said they would like to buy 30 coins, but Luat said he had 40 and would only sell them all. He even agreed to let them pay a part of the money later.

He sold them the 40 coins for a price of VND9 billion ($400,000), and they handed over more than VND5 billion.

Nam did not see the coins transferred to his e-wallet and so told Luat to wait until it happened.

They waited until evening but the coins had still not arrived, and Luat told them he needed to go to his office in Ha Dong District to get a transaction code and check on the transfer.

The office, however, "did not allow any strangers" and Luat had to go in there alone, he told the men and then took the opportunity to give them the slip.

The police caught up with him on Sep. 6, and seized around VND4 billion.

They found that he had sent VND200 million from the money to his brother and used VND700 million to repay debts.

Of the money he took from Anh and Nam, Luat had sent his brother VND200 million and used VND700 million to pay his debt. He also used part of it to buy a new smartphone.

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