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Police prosecute group involved in fake grave scam

Update: April, 19/2012 - 09:54

HCM CITY — HCM City police have prosecuted five people including two city officials for cheating a company that is building several urban developments in District 8.

Nguyen Van Thanh, the owner of a coffin-making shop, Pham Thanh Van, his employee, and Nguyen The Du, a resident of southern Long An Province and Thanh's accomplice, have been charged with "misappropriating other people's assets."

They allegedly erected fake tombs on land being developed by Tan Thuan Industrial Development Co to extract money from it on the pretext of relocating them.

Nguyen Van Sau, a land and housing official in Ward 7, District 8, and Pham Van Phuoc of the District 8 Site Clearance Compensation Board face charges of "irresponsibility creating serious consequences."

Van and Sau are in custody while Du and Phuoc are under house arrest.

Thanh is already in jail serving an eight-year sentence for a similar fraud in District 2.

He clinched a deal to relocate tombs in Ward 7, District 8, to make way for development of five urban areas by Tan Thuan.

He asked Nguyen Hoang Thai of District 3, another of his accomplices who was arrested in November 2011 for cheating people out of their assets, Van, and Du to put up fake tombs (without corpses inside) so that he could remove them and claim compensation.

Between 2005 and 2008 District 8 paid him VND7.7 billion (US$358,000) for moving 474 tombs – real and fake.

He and his accomplices pocketed over VND1 billion of the amount.

Police said Phuoc and Sau's irresponsibility in overseeing the removal of tombs had enabled Thanh and his accomplices to misappropriate money paid by the company through the District 8 Site Clearance Compensation Board. — VNS

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