“Centre for the poor” chairman cheats thousands, appropriates VNĐ148 billion

Update: February, 26/2019 - 18:37
Former chairman of the Hà Nội-based Centre for Supporting the Poor Trần Đức Trung (left) and the centre’s former director general Lê Thị Hằng. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — On Monday, the Supreme People’s Procuracy charged the former chairman of a support centre for poor people for fraudulent appropriation of assets, saying he and his six accomplices took VNĐ148 billion (US$6.37 million) from more than 1,000 people since 2015.

According to the verdict, the Association of Agricultural Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises established a Hà Nội-based Centre for Supporting the Poor in a new urban area development in 2013. The chairman of the centre was Trần Đức Trung, 58 years old, and its director general was Lê Thị Hằng, 56.

From April 2015, although the centre was unlicensed, Trung, Hằng and other staff launched the programme “Việt Nam Heart” which offered high interest for people who gave them money.

For example, a farmer who gave the centre VNĐ1.2 million ($51) could get back VNĐ5.2-5.7 million ($223 - $245) after six months. Borrowers were promised a profit up to eight times higher than the money they gave. One who introduced a new member to the lending network would get VNĐ500,000 per person.

The network was reported to spread over 16 provinces and cities across Việt Nam, collecting VNĐ148 billion.

In December 2015, the Association of Agricultural Small and Medium-sized Enterprises dissolved the centre but Trung and Hằng continued other borrowing programmes, luring people by offering high interest rates.

Trung was arrested in April, 2017. — VNS