Saigon restaurant owner jailed for overcharging Australian diner $30,000

By Hai Duyen   May 11, 2018 | 12:07 am PT
The owner had his staff swipe the customer’s credit cards multiple times.

A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced a restaurant owner to seven years in prison for property appropriation on Friday as he made his staff swipe an Australian customer’s cards eight times and charge him $30,000 for a meal.

Tran Tuan Minh, 23, the owner of Nightfall restaurant, was charged with “using computer networks, telecommunications, the internet or digital devices in order to appropriate property.”

Tran Tuan Minh sits in a trial in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Duyen

Tran Tuan Minh at the trial in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Duyen

The crime he committed was considered serious, but as he had returned all the money to the victim, who agreed to dropped his complaint, the court gave him a commuted sentence.

Caracciolo had dinner at the restaurant on August 11 last year and received a bill of VND23 million ($1,000), according to a complaint filed by a Vietnamese woman on Caracciolo's behalf.

The waiter in question claimed the credit card machine was experiencing "technical errors", so he eventually had to give two cards which were swiped multiple times.

The restaurant did not provide Caracciolo with receipts detailing the charges to his accounts at ANZ and Macquarie banks, the complaint said.

The customer didn't check the transaction until he returned to Australia and received his bank statement, which claimed his cards were swiped eight times for AUD39,429 (around $30,000).

Minh told the court on Friday that he had told the waiter to give Caracciolo six receipts worth around $1,000. He kept the rest and faked the signature.

HCMC, Vietnam's biggest metropolis, is one of the country's top tourist destinations, and received 615,400 foreign arrivals in the first four months of this year, up 25 percent from a year ago.

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