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Vietnamese banker receives life sentence in $2.2 million fraud case

By Nguyen Hai   July 17, 2018 | 02:21 am PT
A former Eximbank employee will spend the rest of her life in prison for stealing over VND50 billion ($2.2 million) from six VIP customers.

The People’s Court of the central province of Nghe An sentenced Nguyen Thi Lam, an employee of Eximbank at the local Do Luong branch, to life imprisonment on Monday.

A police officer leads Nguyen Thi Lam (R) to court in Nghe An Province on Monday. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Hai

A police officer leads Nguyen Thi Lam (R) to court in Nghe An Province on Monday. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Hai

It also sentenced Dang Dinh Hong, former director of the branch, to five years in prison for allowing subordinates to conduct unauthorized transactions for customers between 2013 to 2016, resulting in losses of VND30 billion ($1,300) to the bank.

13 other former employees of Eximbank’s Do Luong branch received sentences ranging from 6 months’ probation to 36 months in prison for “deliberately disobeying government regulations on economic management, resulting in severe consequences.”

From 2012 to 2016, Lam tricked customers by persuading them to deposit money in the branch, promising interest rates of 7 to 12 percent while the bank was actually paying much lower rates of between 4 to 5 percent.

The customers also trusted Lam and signed documents that she brought to them, without going to the bank. Using this ruse, Lam withdrew over VND50 billion from six VIP customers’ accounts.

The court said Lam’s actions had not only inflicted losses on customers, but also damaged the bank’s reputation, leading to loss of customers’ trust.

It said Eximbank will have to pay back customers for all the losses they suffered.

In another case involving Eximbank staff, the customer of a branch in Ho Chi Minh City is said to have lost VND245 billion ($10.8 million).

Two employees of the branch were arrested in March, but the main suspect, the branch’s former deputy manager, who allegedly tricked the customer by using forged documents, is still on the run.

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