Vietnamese man, accomplices con 8,600 investors, collect $13.7 million

By Viet Dung   October 1, 2018 | 01:46 am PT
Nguyen The Anh promised sky-high returns to trick more than 8,600 investors into giving him over VND320 billion ($13.7 million)

The Hanoi Procuracy has been entrusted with prosecuting The Anh, 39, and 13 accomplices. If they are convicted, they could be subject to punishments as high as life imprisonment. However, authorities have released no information about the accused’s current whereabouts.

The Anh founded two companies and presented them as representatives of a Canada-headquartered firm, Organo Gold, which calls itself “a global network marketing company on a mission to change lives by helping people reach new levels of balance, freedom and well-being through our premium products and business opportunity.”

While the company exists and does market a range of beverages and other products, The Anh’s firm had no relation to it, apparently. He allegedly used the name to con people into joining a multi-level marketing program, akin to a ponzi scheme. He hosted lavish company functions to impress potential investors and offer astronomical returns on their investments.

The Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam, the national prosecuting agency, has tasked the Hanoi Procuracy with the handling of the indictment and prosecution of The Anh and his 13 accomplices. The case is under supervision of the Hanoi People's Court.

The Anh was founder and general director of the Phuc Gia Bao Investment Joint Stock Company No.68 (Company 68). It boasted a chartered capital of VND20 billion ($858,000), but in reality the number was a mere VND20 million ($857). The company launched a multi-level marketing scheme for the Organo Gold coffee brand.

The defendant Nguyen The Anh (left) at a company function. A screenshot photo by VnExpress Viet Dung

The defendant Nguyen The Anh (left) at a company function. A screenshot photo by VnExpress Viet Dung

This venture did not do well, so The Anh called for business co-operation for marketing the Lingzhi Red Lucerne coffee. Investments could be made via either of the three packages: VND12.6 million ($540), VND24.6 million ($1,055), VND36.6 million ($1,570). In return, partners would receive VIP coffee vouchers, invitations to important meetings, travelling packages, and interest of 24 - 80 percent a month.

The company promised that investors of the $1,570 package would receive a 24.6 percent interest ($385) in the first month, 32.8 percent in the second ($514) and the following months would come with 43.7 percent interest ($686) and 60 percent interest ($943). After six months, they should expect a total profit of VND125 million ($5,360), which equals 341.5 percent interest.

Since July 2015, The Anh set up 10 offices in various cities in the Central Highlands and southern Vietnam, including the nation’s trade hub, Ho Chi Minh City.

However, two months later, the branch located in central Binh Dinh Province was suspended and its bank accounts in Quy Nhon City, central Vietnam, were locked for engaging in a dubious business scheme.

On the offensive

Unfazed by this setback, The Anh set up Phuc Gia Bao Company 868, with a charter capital of VND20 billion and established 10 branches across the country.

Together companies 68 and 868 opened 18 branches and two offices in 15 cities and provinces.

In order to gain investors’ trust, The Anh and his subordinates orchestrated compelling invitations and commitment, offering two new investment packages worth VND72.6 million ($3,113) and VND84.6 million ($3,629). At grand seminars, The Anh and his staff promoted the company's schemes and gave out rewards to active investors.

While he presented his companies as representatives of the Canadian firm, all he did was buy their products and offer it to investors for free.

He claimed that Company 868 was also working in many areas including supermarkets, mining, hotels, and so on. In fact, his company opened just one supermarket in HCMC's Go Vap District which was taken down shortly after, because it was besieged by investors who had not received the promised returns.

In less than a year, from July 2015 to February 2016, the two companies signed over 8,600 contracts and earned more than VND320 billion ($13.7 million). Over VND203 billion ($8.7 million) was paid out to investors as interest, while VND120 billion ($5.1 million) was spent on personal expenses, gift sets and travel tours for investors.

As of now, investigators have gathered and checked details of 603 victims.

The Anh’s accomplices include Nguyen Van Thong, deputy general director of Company 868, Nguyen Van Hien, deputy general director of Company 868, and 11 branch directors.

More details about the case are yet to be released.

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