Viet Nam News
ĐẮK LẮK — The People’s Court of Đắk Lắk on Monday opened the first court of instance hearing in the fraudulent case related to online shopping and training company MB24 (muaban24.vn)’s branch in Đắk Lắk Province.
The four defendants are Ngô Văn Chiến, 37, and Trần Văn Sự, 42, former director of the company’s branch in Đắk Lắk; Đặng Anh Tuấn, 37 and Bùi Thị Chiên, 40, former director of the company’s branch in Buôn Ma Thuột.
The four people were arrested since August 2012 on charges of using computers and internet systems to illegally appropriate more than VNĐ10 billion (US$440,200) from other people.
The case may last many years, as it involves more than 700 victims. About 150 persons concerned have been summoned by the court as witnesses.
According to the indictment, the company’s branches in Đắk Lắk and Buôn Ma Thuột were set up in October and November 2011, respectively. It got licence from Đắk Lắk Province’s Planning and Investment Department and operated under the direction of MB24 in Hà Nội, which was led by Ngô Văn Huy (Chiến’s brother).
The defendants promoted the company, opening fake online “booths,” which purported to allow members to buy and sell goods online. To become a company’s member, each person had to contribute VNĐ5.2 million to the company.
Members paid real money to the company and got virtual currency in return.
From October 2011 to July 2012, the two branches have developed 2,054 booths with a total turnover of VNĐ10 billion. This money was transferred to the company’s head office in Hà Nội. The four defendants received commission of over VNĐ3.2 billion from the company.
Specifically, Chiến and Sự received over VNĐ1 billion each; Tuấn got VNĐ900 million and Chiến got nearly VNĐ29 million.
Earlier in 2014, the Hà Nội court sentenced Ngô Văn Huy, the then general-director of the online shopping and training company MB24 to 16 years, while his deputy Lê Văn Cường and Nguyễn Mạnh Hà, the technical chief and administrator of the website, got 14 years and 12 years, respectively.
In addition to their jail sentences, the men were ordered to pay back the remaining proceeds of the ill-earned money to their 107 victims.
Most victims of the MB24 scheme lived in remote rural areas and lacked an understanding of technology and e-commerce. The court found they were lured by VNĐ1.5 million commissions that the company promised to pay them for signing up as new members.
MB24 managed to enlist recruiters and dupe victims all over the country, before its headquarters in the capital was raided on August 1, 2012.
The first instance court is expected to last until June 16. — VNS