Woman jailed for 15 years after 'hell money' con job

By Nguyen Hung   April 7, 2022 | 05:43 am PT
Woman jailed for 15 years after 'hell money' con job
A picture illustration shows U.S. 100-dollar bank notes taken in Tokyo August 2, 2011. Photo by Reuters/Yuriko Nakao
A Hanoi woman will spend 15 years behind bars for swindling more than VND1 billion ($43,753) from a couple with several deceptions, including briefcases full of fake currency.

The Hanoi People’s Court handed down the 15-year sentence to 52-year-old Nguyen Thi Nhung Thursday after finding her guilty of obtaining property by fraud.

Nhung used a fake name and falsely claimed she was working for the Government Office to deceive the couple. She said she could buy cars at discounted prices and have land ownership certificates issued for agricultural land.

Last year, Nhung told Sinh and his wife, who live in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District, that the Government Office was selling a Ford Ranger for VND272 million and a Camry 2.5 for VND390 million. She said if the couple gave her the money, the cars would be delivered on April 30, 2021.

Sinh and his wife then gave Nhung a total of VND502 million from April 23 to April 29 last year.

Nhung also offered the couple a land ownership certificate for a 12,000 sq.m land plot in Dong Anh District. She asked for and was given VND220 million up front for this purchase.

On April 27, 2021, Nhung told the couple she had been asked to go to Ho Chi Minh City to "get $7 million for leadership" for which she would get VND10 billion as a reward. Nhung asked Sinh to rent a car and go with her, saying he would receive VND5 billion.

On the way, Nhung told Sinh to give her VND310 million as "support money" for bank employees. After receiving the money, Nhung bought two briefcases and filled them with fake currency, normally used in Vietnam as ceremonial joss paper offerings for deceased relatives, to dupe Sinh into believing that the money had been received. It is also known locally as "hell money".

She then demanded another VND50 million for "work purposes" and yet another VND100 million for "car papers". By now, Sinh and his wife had become very suspicious they were being duped. They checked the briefcases and discovered the hell money inside.

*Victims' names have been changed.

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