Judgment No. 148/2019/HSST dated 08/05/2019 on obtaining property by fraud

PEOPLE’S COURT OF HO CHI MINH CITY

JUDGMENT NO. 148/2019/HSST DATED 08/05/2019 ON OBTAINING PROPERTY BY FRAUD

On May 08, 2019, at the office of the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City, a public first-instance trial is conducted to hear the Criminal Case No. 45/2019/HSST dated January 17, 2019 under the Decision to Bring the Case to Trial No. 1750/2019/QDST-HS dated April 19, 2019 against:

Okorie Christian U; gender: male; born on 13/01/1984; in O; nationality: N; passport number: A08854794, issued by the Federal Republic of N on 02/01/2018; religion: Christianity; education level: primary level; occupation: freelancer; place of residence: N; address: room 01, Block B, S apartment building, National route 1A, neighborhood 5, M ward, N district, Ho Chi Minh City; parents: Mr. Okasa A, born in 1950 (deceased) and Mrs. Mkara B, born in 1962; wife, children: none; previous convictions, previous administrative violations: none.

- In temporary detention from May, 08, 2018 – Present.

Other procedural participants:

+ Aggrieved persons:                                

1. Mrs. Nguyen Thi T, born in 1975; address: No. 02, Nguyen Van a, ward 2, b city, Lam Dong (request for trial in absentia).

2. Mrs. Nguyen Thi R, born in 1984; address: 03 Nguyen Than H, ward 18, E district, Ho Chi Minh City (present).

+ Persons with relevant rights and obligations:

1. Mrs. Nguyen Thi V, born in 1972; address: hamlet 3, neighborhood 152, W street, Q commune, y district, Ho Chi Minh City (absent).

2. Mrs. Tran Trinh Huyen E, born in 1985; address: 03 Chanh I hamlet, TX commune, HM district, Ho Chi Minh City (present).

3. Mrs. Dang Thi S, born in 1977; address: hamlet 05, TH commune, TC district, Tay Ninh (present).

4. Mrs. Ho Thi Mai I, born in 1981; address: 06 Tran Van D, ward 11, F district, Ho Chi Minh City (present).

5. Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thu G, born in 1988;

6. Mrs. Trinh Thi P, born in 1956;

Both reside in 07 Trinh DT, PT ward, TP district, Ho Chi Minh City (absent).

+ Interpreter: Mr. Vo Hong t, born in 1992; address: 08 Le VS, ward 13, PN district, Ho Chi Minh City (present).

THE CASE

According to the documents contained in the case file and the progress at the trial, the contents of the case are summarized as follows:

On May 5, 2018, Mrs. Nguyen Thi T, born in 1975 and residing at No. 02 Nguyen Van a, ward 2, b city, Lam Dong, submitted a denunciation to the Investigation Police Body of Ho Chi Minh City Police (PC03) of the following matter: in early April 2018, Mrs. T became friend with a facebook user called DH, who introduced themselves as an American living in London, the United Kingdom. After chatting with Mrs. T, DH promised to give Mrs. T USD 1. 500. 000 to invest in real estates in Vietnam. After that, a person self-identifying as an airport customs staff and using the phone number 01629392xxx sent an email to request Mrs. T to pay a fee to receive the abovementioned USD 1. 500. 000. Trusting them, Mrs. T made 4 transfers totaling VND 959. 229. 700 to individual accounts. To be specific: on April 23, 2018, Mrs. T made 2 deposits totaling VND 159. 000. 000 into the bank account 5710205032102 of Dang Thi S, opened at Agribank - Tan Hung Sugarcane Zone Branch; on April 27, 2018, Mrs. T transferred VND 516. 518. 750 to the VPBank bank account 117624633 of Tran Trinh Huyen E; on May 03, 2018, Mrs. T deposited VND 283. 710. 950 into the bank account 14710000302680 of Nguyen Thi V, opened at BIDV Bank - Branch 1. After depositing VND 959. 229. 700, Mrs. T did not receive the money DH promised.

At the office of the Investigation Body, Nguyen Thi V (owner of  the bank account 14710000302680) confessed: in August 2017, through the Zalo app, V (owner of an account named “Dep”) met a man of African descent called Chuks (real name: Okorie Christian U, the defendant), who introduced himself as a shoes seller living in Ho Chi Minh City. They met and began a romantic relationship. In February 2018, Chuks returned to Vietnam to find V and asked her to open a bank account in her name to receive money from Chuks's clients. On October 27, 2018, V opened a bank account at BIDV Bank - Branch 1 using the phone number 0976532501 and was issued with a bank account with the number 14710000302680 and a Mastercard card with the number 5119570169364113. Upon receipt of the card, V let Chuks manage and use the Mastercard and SIM card of the phone number used to open the account. On May 04, 2018, Chuks sent V a Zalo message informing her that Chuks’s client had transferred money to the account and asking her to withdraw the money from BIDV Bank - Branch 1 for Chuks.

On May 08, 2018, V visited BIDV Bank - Branch 1 (address: No. 2 street 1, ward 12, X district, Ho Chi Minh City)  to withdraw VND 499.000.000 from the bank account 14710000302680. After withdrawing the money, while Nguyen Thi V was giving the money to Chuks (U) in front of the bank, they were caught red-handed and had VND 499.000.000; 02 mobile phones containing the SIM cards of the phone numbers 01699705095, 01685730243 and 0976532501; and 01 credit card USB seized.

Inspecting data contained in the 02 mobile phones and 01 credit card USB, the Investigation Body found:

Whatsapp messages between U and a person called “Oboy Cambodia”, in which: Oboy sent U pictures of deposit slips showing deposits into the bank account 14710000302680 that Nguyen Thi V opened at BIDV Bank from 03 persons. To be specific: Mrs. Nguyen Thi T deposited VND 283.710.950 via BIDV Bank; Mrs. Nguyen Thi R deposited VND 150. 900. 000 via BIDV Bank; and Mrs. Lo Thi Phuong n transferred VND 13. 726. 000 and VND 50. 000. 000 via Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank.

During the investigation process, Okorie Christian U confessed: in May 2017, Okorie met a person called K (also known as Oboy, nationality: Nigerian, place of residence: Cambodia, phone number: +855964276021) in a bar on Bui Vien street, district 1. In February 2018, Okorie returned to Vietnam and met Oboy, who suggested Okorie open a bank account for Oboy to use. Oboy would befriend and ask Vietnamese women to transfer money to this bank account. However, Okorie did not know Oboy's fraud technique. At first, Oboy agreed to pay 20-40% of the amount that could be withdrawn but later lowered it to 10%. As he was already acquainted with Nguyen Thi V ("Dep”), Okorie told V he needed a bank account to make transactions with his clients and would like V to open a bank account for him. After being issued with a bank account by BIDV Bank, V gave the Mastercard card and SIM card of the phone number used to open the bank account to Okorie, who passed on the necessary information to Oboy. On May 03, 2018, through the Whatsapp app, Oboy sent pictures of deposit slips from Vietnamese women who transferred money to the bank account that V opened, with the total amount being approximately VND 500. 000. 000, and requested Okorie to withdraw the money. As it was a large amount of money, Okorie asked V to visit the bank to withdraw and give cash to Okorie. On May 08, 2018, after V withdrew VND 499. 000. 000 from the bank account 14710000302680, they were caught red-handed when V was giving the money to Okorie.

Zalo messages between Okorie (“Chuks”) and V (“Dep”) show that Okorie sent deposit slips to V, told her that it was money from Okorie’s clients and asked V to visit the bank to withdraw and give cash to Okorie.

At the office of the Investigation Body, Nguyen Thi V affirmed that she did open the bank account and withdraw cash to give to Okorie as abovementioned, she was not paid by Okorie to open the bank account or withdraw cash and she did not know the bank account had been used to appropriate property. V’s affirmation matched Okorie’s confession.

BIDV Bank - Branch 1 verified: on October 27, 2018, BIDV Bank - Branch 1 issued a bank account with the number 14710000302680 to Nguyen Thi  V, date of birth: June 12, 1972, identity card No. 220829670 issued on January 02, 2008 by Khanh Hoa Police, phone number used to open the bank account: 0976532501.

From the date on which the bank account was opened to May 08, 2018, the bank account 14710000302680 had the following transactions: on October 27, 2018, a deposit of VND 50.000 from Nguyen Thi V; on April 07, 2018, a deposit of VND 500. 000 from a person named James Eze (unknown background); on April 18, 2018, a transfer of VND 500. 000; on May 03, 2018, a deposit of VND 150. 900. 000 from Mrs. Nguyen Thi Tram; on May 03, 2018, a transfer of VND 13. 726. 000; on May 03, 2018, a transfer of VND 50. 000. 000; on May 03, 2018, a deposit of VND 283. 710. 950 from Mrs. Nguyen Thi T.

From the date on which the bank account was opened to May 08, 2018, the bank account 14710000302680 had 01 withdrawal transaction with an amount of VND 499.000.000.

Regarding the abovementioned transfers, as BIDV was not the sending bank, it could not provide the transfer slips. Upon verification of Whatsapp messages between Okorie and “Oboy”, it was found that Lo Thi Phuong Nam transferred VND 13. 726. 000 and VND 50. 000. 000 to Nguyen Thi T’s bank account via Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank. However, as Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank did not provide information on the account holder or bank statement, the Investigation Body had no ground to call Lo Thi Phuong Nam to give a deposition.

Agribank - Tan Hung Sugarcane Zone Branch verified: on October 15, 2018, Agribank - Tan Hung Sugarcane Zone Branch issued a bank account with the number 5710205032102 to Dang Thi S, date of birth: March 01, 1977, identity card  No. 291188292 issued on October 17, 2014 by Tay Ninh Police. On April 23, 2018, Mrs. Nguyen Thi T made 2 deposits totaling VND 159.000.000 to the abovementioned account, which was later withdrawn by card on April 23, 2018 at ATMs outside of Agribank’s system so there was no picture available. On April 24, 2018, Dang Thi S visited Agribank - Tan Hung Sugarcane Zone Branch to withdraw VND 150. 000. 000.

VPBank verified: that on February 22, 2017, VPBank issued a bank account with the number 117624633 to Tran Trinh Huyen Tram, date of birth:  April 25, 1985, identity card No. 024017771 issued on May 22, 2002 by Ho Chi Minh City Police. On April 27, 2018, Mrs. Nguyen Thi T deposited VND 516.518.750 into the abovementioned account. On the same day, Tran Trinh Huyen Tram visited the bank to withdraw VND 516. 500. 000.

Tran Trinh Huyen Tram confessed: in November 2017, through the Tango app, Tram befriended a Nigerian named Harrison; they met and began a romantic relationship. In early April 2018, Harrison said he was selling shoes but could not open a bank account, so he wanted to borrow Tram’s VPBank account 117624633 for transactions. At the end of April 2018, Harrison texted Tram to let her know a large amount of money was being transferred to the bank account and ask Tram to visit the bank to withdraw the money. Tram agreed to visit the bank to withdraw and give VND 516. 500. 000 to Harrison. In the middle of May 2018, Tram could no longer contact Harrison. Tram confessed she was not paid to withdraw the money and did not know Harrison was using the bank account to appropriate property.

Dang Thi S confessed: in October 2018, S met a foreign man of African descent with unclear background who introduced himself as a clothes seller in Vietnam. Through talking, this person revealed that he needed a bank account to receive money from customers but was unable to open one as he was a foreigner, so he wanted to ask S to open a bank account in her name and lend it to him for a payment of VND 2. 000. 000. S visited Agribank - Tan Hung Sugarcane Zone Branch to open an account. After receiving the bankcard from the bank, S gave it to the African man and was paid VND 2. 000. 000. In late April 2018, S met the African man again, who told her that there was a large amount of money in the bank account she opened and requested her to visit the bank to withdraw the money for a payment of VND 1. 000. 000. S visited Agribank - Tan Hung Sugarcane Zone Branch to withdraw VND 150. 000. 000 and gave this amount to this man for a payment of VND 1. 000. 000. Since June 2018, S has not met this man and claims she did not know this man was using the account to appropriate property.

The Investigation Body requested Tran Trinh Huyen Tram and Dang Thi S to bring in the money withdrawn from their accounts as well as the payments they received but Tram and S claimed that they had already given the money to the abovementioned man so they could not bring the money in.

In addition, the investigation verified that it was Mrs. Nguyen Thi Tram who deposited VND 150.900.000 into Nguyen Thi V’s BIDV account opened on May 03, 2018. At the office of the Investigation Body, Mrs. Tram affirmed:

In April 2018, through Facebook, Tram met a person named Alex. After spending some time talking, Alex said he was working in Afghanistan and had a large amount of money (USD 1. 000. 000) but he was worried it was unsafe in Afghanistan so he wanted Tram to keep the money for him for a payment of USD 200. 000. After that, a person self-identifying as an airport customs staff called and sent messages asking Tram to pay a fee to receive the abovementioned USD 1. 000. 000. Trusting them, Tram transferred money at the request of this person to some individual accounts multiple times, totaling VND 700. 000. 000, including VND 150. 900. 000 deposited into Nguyen Thi V’s BIDV account 14710000302680 opened on May 03, 2018. However, Mrs. Tram no longer keeps information and messages with Alex and the person requesting her to pay the fee or deposit slips for the amount she deposited as instructed by such person.

During the investigation process, it was verified that U used another Zalo account named “Chuks” to befriend many women and request them to open an account for Okorie to use for business purpose, including accounts named “Dep”, “thaonhoxinh” and “Mai I”. Owner of the “thaonhoxinh” Zalo account and phone number 0985022053 asked another person to open a bank account and gave Okorie the Visa card of a Sacombank account owned by Trinh Thi P. Owner of the “Mai I” Zalo account provided U with information about a Sacombank Visa card owned by Ho Thi Mai I but this card was not used as it had not been given to U.

U asserted these persons did not know what U was using the accounts for. V and “Mai Ri” were not paid and “thaonhoxinh” was paid VND 3. 000. 000 to open the account and VND 2. 000. 000 to withdraw money.

Ho Thi Mai I confessed: in early April 2018, through Zalo, I (account name: “Mai I”) befriended a foreign man named Chuks; they met and went out together a few times. In late April 2018, Chuks messaged I to ask her to open a bank account in her name and let Chuks use it for business purpose. On May 03, 2018, I visited Sacombank - N District Branch to open an account and was told the Visa card would be available 01 week later. On May 14, 2018, I visited the bank to receive the card but could not contact Chuks to give it to him. I was not paid to open the account and did not know what Chuks was going to use it for.

: Nguyen Thi Thu G confessed: in February 2018, through Zalo, G (account name: "thaonhoxinh”) befriended a foreign man named Chuks; they met and began a romantic relationship. In October 2018, Chuks messaged G to ask her to open a bank account and let him use it for business purpose. Chuks and G agreed on VND 3. 000. 000 as payment for opening the account. G asked her aunt Trinh Thi P to open the account and promised to pay her VND 1. 000. 000. After Sacombank issued her with the account and card, Mrs. P gave them to G. After that, G gave them to Chuks and was paid VND 3. 000. 000. At the end of April 2018, Chuks messaged G to tell her that there was a large amount of money in the account and ask her to ask Mrs. P, the account owner, to withdraw and give the money to Chuks. Chuks and G agreed on VND 2. 000. 000 as payment for such withdrawal, and G promised to pay Mrs. P VND 300. 000 for Mrs. P to withdraw the money at the bank. After the money was withdrawn, G and Mrs. P gave it to Chuks and were paid VND 2. 000. 000. After deducting the account’s minimum deposit and Mrs. P’s payments, G earned VND 3. 450. 000. However, G did not know Chuks was using the account to appropriate money.

Trinh Thi P’s confession that she opened a bank account in her name and received payment for this act but did not know U was using the account to appropriate property matched Nguyen Thi Thu G’s confession.

The Investigation Body asked Ho Thi Mai I, Nguyen Thi Thu G, Trinh Thi P, Dang Thi S and Tran Trinh Huyen R to identify the person in question. The identification result: I and G confirmed that Okorie Christian U used the Chuks Zalo account to befriend and ask I and G to open bank accounts and let him use these accounts for business purpose. Yen confirmed that Okorie Christian U was the foreigner who asked G to open the bank account and received the money withdrawn by P. S, H and R could not confirm whether Okorie Christian U was the person who asked them to open the bank accounts and withdraw money.

Evidences of the case:

- VND 499.000.000 confiscated from Okorie; VND 3. 450. 000 voluntarily given by Nguyen Thi Thu G; VND 1. 300. 000 in cash voluntarily given by Trinh Thi P (deposited into the seizure account of the Investigation Police Body of Ho Chi Minh City Police (PC03) according to the Evidence Storage Order No. 265-36 dated May 16, 2018);

- 01 Mastercard card with the number 5119570169364113 owned by Nguyen Thi V and opened at BIDV Bank;

- 01 Iphone phone, used; 01 Oppo phone, used; 03 SIM card of the phone numbers 01699705095, 01685730243 and 0976532501; 01 used USB flash drive - seized from Okorie Christian U.

In the indictment No. 23/CT-VKS-P3 dated January 11, 2019, People's Procuracy of Ho Chi Minh City prosecuted Okorie Christian U for the crime of “obtaining property by fraud” according to Point a Clause 3 Article 174 of the 2015 Criminal Code (amended in 2017).

At the trial, the representative of the People's Procuracy of Ho Chi Minh City exercised the right of prosecution to uphold the prosecution decision, speak arraignment, evaluate the nature, extent and serious consequence of the offence committed by the defendant as well as penalty determination circumstances and mitigating circumstances and request the Trial Panel to:

Pursuant to Point a Clause 3 Article 174; and Points s Clause 1 Article 51 of the 2015 Criminal Code (amended in 2017), sentence the defendant, Okorie Christian U, to from 08 - 09 years in prison and handle the evidences as per the law.

The defendant, Okorie Christian U, does not argue and only appeals for leniency as he has acknowledged his offence and his family is in a difficult situation so as to enable him to complete his sentence and return to his home country to start anew soon.

JUDGEMENT OF THE COURT

Based on the contents of the case, documents in the case file which have been argued at the trial, the Trial Panel finds that:

At the trial, Okorie Christian U admitted all of the acts he and his accomplices committed, but changed his confession, claiming that him giving information about the bank accounts to Oboy and letting Oboy receive money through these accounts were only for Oboy to help him with his clothes and shoes business and that he did not know the money was obtained illegally. Eventually, the defendant admitted all of his crime, which matched the indictment of the People’s Procuracy of Ho Chi Minh City.

Upon comparison, the defendant’s confessions at the office of the Investigation Body and at the trial match the offender capture record, object - document seizure record, depositions of the aggrieved persons (Nguyen Thi T and Nguyen Thi R), depositions of persons with relevant rights and obligations (Nguyen Thi V, Ho Thi Mai I, Dang Thi S, etc.), identification record and other documents and records concerning the legal proceedings collected by the Investigation Body in the case file.

Evidences seized from the defendant, through inspection of data in the 02 mobile phones and 01 USB flash drive, it is confirmed that: Whatsapp messages between U and a person called “Oboy Cambodia” contain pictures sent by Oboy to Okorie of deposit slips showing deposits in Nguyen Thi V’s BIDV account 14710000302680 on May 03, 2018 from 03 persons. To be specific: Mrs. Nguyen Thi T deposited VND 283.710.950 via BIDV Bank; Mrs. Nguyen Thi R deposited VND 150.900.000 via BIDV Bank; and Mrs. Lo Thi Phuong n transferred VND 13.726.000 and VND 50.000.000.

Considering the findings, there are sufficient grounds to conclude that in May 2017, Okorie Christian U met K - also known as Oboy, a citizen of country N (unknown background) living in Cambodia, in a bar on Bui Vien street, district 1, Ho Chi Minh City. In February 2018, U returned to Vietnam and met Oboy, who asked U to open bank accounts for him. Oboy would befriend Vietnamese women to deceive them by sending gifts or transferring money and asking them to pay transfer fee to the accounts provided by Okorie, after which Oboy would inform U and U would withdraw money and give it to Oboy for a payment of 20 - 40% of the amount withdrawn for the first few times and 10% for subsequent times. However, U did not know Oboy's fraud technique.

Fulfilling the intention, Okorie Christian U used Zalo to send friend requests and directly contacted Vietnamese women such as Nguyen Thi V, Ho Thi Mai I, Nguyen Thi Thu G and Trinh Thi Yen, began a romantic relationship with them and then asked them as well as paying them to open Vietnamese bank accounts for him. After that, Okorie Christian U gave information about these accounts to Oboy, who used them to receive illegal transfers resulting from frauds committed by Oboy and his accomplices and then informed Okorie. Okorie then withdrew the money and gave it to Oboy for payment.

On May 08, 2018, Okorie Christian U asked Nguyen Thi V to visit BIDV Bank - Branch 1 (address: No. 456 street 1, ward 12, district 10, Ho Chi Minh City)  to withdraw VND 499.000.000 from the bank account 14710000302680 opened by V but used by Okorie Christian U. After withdrawing the money, while Nguyen Thi V was giving the money to Okorie Christian U (going by Chuks on Zalo) in front of the bank, they were caught red-handed by the police and had VND 499.000.000 and all relevant evidences seized.

The bank account 14710000302680 opened by Nguyen Thi V at BIDV Bank is verified to have received transfers from 03 persons, including VND 283.710.950 from Mrs. Nguyen Thi T; VND 150.900.000 from Mrs. Nguyen Thi R and VND 13.726.000 and VND 50.000.000 via Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank from Mrs. Lo Thi Phuong n.

However, the investigation only gave sufficient grounds to prove that Mrs. Nguyen Thi T and Mrs. Nguyen Thi R were befriended by persons with unknown background named DH (self-introducing as an American living in London - the United Kingdom) and Alex (working in Afghanistan) via Facebook and deceived into transferring money at the request of these persons to Nguyen Thi V’s BIDV bank account 14710000302680 for appropriation purpose. As for Mrs. Lo Thi Phuong n, as Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank did not provide information on the account holder and bank statement, and, on August 13, 2018, the Investigation Police Body of Ho Chi Minh City Police sent an official dispatch to editorial boards of some newspapers (Sai Gon Giai Phong, Cong an Nhan dan, Cong an Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh and Thanh Nien) to post a notice to find the aggrieved person but there is no reply so far, thus, there is no ground to identify Mrs. Lo Thi Phuong n and obtain her deposition to clarify information about these amounts of money.

Therefore, there are only sufficient grounds to compel the defendant to incur criminal liabilities for the amount of money appropriated from Mrs. Nguyen Thi T and Mrs. Nguyen Thi R, totaling VND 434.610.950 (VND 283.710.950 + VND 150.900.000).

Additionally, Okorie Christian U also confessed to have used the same trick to withdraw and send money to Cambodia to Oboy through a coach driver for payment, but U did not remember the exact amount, the bank where the money was withdrawn and who the delivery person was. Thus, there are insufficient grounds to compel Okorie Christian U to incur criminal liabilities for this withdrawal.

Therefore, with the appropriated amount totaling VND 434.610.950 and Okorie Christian U committing acts of “obtaining property by fraud”, the crime and penalty are provided for in Article 174 of the 2015 Criminal Code (amended in 2017).

The offence committed by the defendant and his accomplices poses great danger to the society; infringes upon the property rights of other people protected by criminal law and causes a disturbance to public order and social security. The defendant Okorie Christian U was fully aware of his unlawful acts but deliberately committed them out of selfish interest.

Considering the findings, Okorie Christian U and his accomplices’ appropriation of a total of VND 434.610.950, which is a case of “appropriating property worth from VND two hundred million to under VND five hundred million”, is a penalty determination circumstance that aggravates the defendant’s criminal liabilities.

Thus, regarding the penalty, the defendant must be strictly punished according to regulations in Point a Clause 3 Article 174 of the 2015 Criminal Code (amended in 2017).

In the case, the defendant and his foreign accomplices (unknown background) were in complicity, in which, the defendant was an active abettor who used Zalo to send friend requests, directly approached the Vietnamese women to ask for favors as well as paying the women to open Vietnamese bank accounts, gave information about the bank accounts to enable Oboy and his accomplices to appropriate property and withdrew and gave money to Oboy upon request for payment. The penalty shall be decided with due account taken of the nature and level of complicity of the defendant according to regulations in Article 58 of the 2015 Criminal Code (amended in 2017).

To ensure legal stringency, the penalty must be strict and isolate the defendant from the society for an adequate amount of time to educate the defendant in particular and contribute to crime prevention and control. However, when deciding the penalty, the Trial Panel also takes into consideration that the defendant is a foreigner with no prior criminal record, previous conviction or previous administrative violations; during the investigation process as well as at the trial, the defendant expressed a cooperative attitude and showed his repentance and desire to redeem his faults; and all appropriated property has been seized to return to the aggrieved persons, resulting in small loss, to mitigate the defendant’s penalty according to regulations in Points h and s Clause 1 and Clause 2 Article 51 of the 2015 Criminal Code (amended in 2017).

People's Procuracy of Ho Chi Minh City bringing a prosecution against Okorie Christian U has sufficient grounds. The proposed penalty for the defendant is appropriate; however, the nature and extent of the crime and mitigating circumstances per the abovementioned judgment of the Trial Panel are taken into consideration to mitigate the defendant’s penalty, showing leniency in law.

+ Regarding legal proceedings: during the investigation, prosecution and hearing processes, procedural acts and decisions of presiding agencies (Investigation Police Body of Ho Chi Minh City Police, People’s Procuracy of Ho Chi Minh City) and presiding officers (Investigators, Procurators) are compliant with regulations of the Criminal Procedure Code and the defendant asserted that his statement was given voluntarily and he had no complaint about the legal proceedings; thus, all are lawful.

+ Regarding civil liabilities: during the investigation process, the Investigation Body seized the amount of VND 499.000.000 appropriated by the defendant and his accomplices in the case to return VND 283.710.950 to Mrs. Nguyen Thi T and VND 150.900.000 to Mrs. Nguyen Thi R.

At the trial, the aggrieved persons do not request any additional compensation, thus, such matter is not considered.

+ Regarding handling of evidences: pursuant to Article 47 of the 2015 Criminal Code (amended in 2017) and Article 106 of the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code:

- Regarding VND 503.750.000 seized in the case, this amount includes VND 499.000.000 appropriated by the defendant and his accomplices from the aggrieved persons, which will be returned to Mrs. Nguyen Thi T (VND 283.710.950) and to Mrs. Nguyen Thi R (VND 150.900.000); VND 3. 450. 000 from Nguyen Thi Thu G and VND 1. 300. 000 from Trinh Thi P (voluntarily brought in).

The remaining VND 69.139.050 are money obtained by crime by the defendant’s accomplices with unknown aggrieved person(s) and voluntarily brought in by Nguyen Thi Thu G and Trinh Thi P (money paid by Okorie for opening bank accounts and withdrawing money for Okorie); thus, it shall be confiscated to the state fund.

- Confiscate 01 used Iphone phone and 01 used Oppo phone, which the defendant used to commit his crime, to the state fund.

- Confiscate and dispose of 01 Mastercard card with the number 5119570169364113 owned by Nguyen Thi V and opened at BIDV Bank, 03 SIM cards (phone numbers: 01699705095, 01685730243 and 0976532501) and 01 used USB flash drive from Okorie Christian U, which were involved in the crime and had no value.

+ Regarding the court fee: pursuant to Article 136 of the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code, compel the defendant to incur the first-instance criminal court fee according to regulations and Resolution No. 326/2016/UBTVQH14 dated December 30, 2016 by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly.

As for the person named K (Oboy), the person named Harrison and the person impersonating an airport customs staff, as the investigation could not identify their record and background, there are insufficient grounds for consideration and handling.

As for Nguyen Thi V, Ho Thi Mai I, Nguyen Thi Thu G and Trinh Thi P, who opened bank accounts for Okorie Christian U; V and P also withdrew and gave money to Okorie Christian U; but U, I, G and P all did not know the purpose of opening the bank accounts and money withdrawal for Okorie Christian U, which matched Okorie Christian U’s statement, thus, they were not involved in the crime committed by Okorie Christian U and his accomplices. Therefore, it is lawful for the Investigation Body to not bring a prosecution against these persons.

Based on the abovementioned facts and matters;

HEREBY DECIDES

Declare Okorie Christian U guilty of “Obtaining property by fraud”.

Pursuant to Point a Clause 3 Article 174; Points h and s Clause 1 and Clause 2 Article 51; Article 17; and Article 58 of the 2015 Criminal Code (amended in 2017), sentence Okorie Christian U to 07 (seven) years in prison. The prison term commences from May 08, 2018.

+ Regarding handling of evidences: pursuant to Article 47 of the 2015 Criminal Code (amended in 2017) in Viet Nam and Article 106 of the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code.

Return VND 283.710.950 (two hundred eighty three million seven hundred ten thousand nine hundred fifty) to Mrs. Nguyen Thi T and VND 150.900.000 (one hundred fifty million nine hundred thousand) to Mrs. Nguyen Thi R.

- Confiscate to state fund:

+ VND 69.139.050 (sixty nine million one hundred thirty nine thousand fifty);

+ 01 used Iphone phone and 01 used Oppo phone.

- Confiscate and dispose of 01 Mastercard card with the number 5119570169364113 owned by Nguyen Thi V and opened at BIDV Bank, 03 SIM cards of the phone numbers 01699705xxx, 01685730xxx and 0976532xxx and 01 used USB flash drive (seized from Okorie Christian U).

Evidences per the exhibit handover record No. 153/19 dated January 16, 2019 by the civil judgment enforcement authority of Ho Chi Minh City and a deposit slip issued on June 27, 2018 denoting deposit into the account 3949.0.9058778.00000 at State Treasury of Ho Chi Minh City, Investigation Police Department on Corruption and Economic Crimes of Ho Chi Minh City Police.

+ Regarding the court fee: pursuant to Article 136 of the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code in Viet Nam and Resolution No. 326/2016/UBTVQH14 in Viet Nam dated December 30, 2016 by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly.

Compel the defendant to incur VND 200.000 (two hundred thousand) of first-instance criminal court fee.

The defendant, aggrieved persons and persons with relevant rights and obligations present at the trial have the right to appeal against this Judgment within 15 days starting from the date of pronouncement. Litigants absent from the trial have the right to appeal against this Judgment within 15 days starting from the date this Judgment is duly served or posted.


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Judgment No. 148/2019/HSST dated 08/05/2019 on obtaining property by fraud

Số hiệu:148/2019/HSST
Cấp xét xử:Sơ thẩm
Agency issued: Tòa án nhân dân Hồ Chí Minh
Field:Hình sự
Date issued: 08/05/2019
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