HÀ NỘI — A shadow creator of an online gold trading platform that conned investors out of nearly US$3 million was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Friday.
Phạm Đức Tài, 39, was found guilty of conducting an illegal business and using the internet to appropriate assets after a five-day long trial at the Hà Nội People’s Court.
Back in 2013, Tài set up a company called International Gold and Jewelry Trade JSC Co (IG) under the name of a family member.
He hired Mai Xuân Tú, 68, from Nam Định Province, to act as the company’s general director with a monthly salary of VNĐ4 million ($177).
Tài himself teamed up with 36-year-old Lưu Công Khánh from Đắk Lắk Province to rent Metatrader4 or MT4 software – a popular online trading platform for brokers and investors – to start trading gold futures and margins without a business licence.
The couple advertised IG as a brokerage company for a foreign gold trading platform named Napmig to lure investors. Napmig, however, did not exist.
Investors who wanted to start trading on the platform had to open an account by buying pre-packages of $2,500 or $5,000.
According to police, about 500 traders joined the IG platform and nearly 4,000 taels of gold (5,300 ounces) were traded online between 2013 and 2015.
Investors poured in more than $8.2 million and withdrew about $5.2 million, leaving the company with a profit of $3 million.
Tài and Khánh were sentenced to 22 years behind bars each on the same charges.
Thirty-five-year-old IT engineer Vũ Đình Hùng from HCM City, who installed and monitored the MT4 software for the company, got five years in prison for asset appropriation.
The court also sentenced eight other defendants who worked for IG in Hà Nội and its provincial branches in Thanh Hóa and Hải Dương to sentences between 15-month suspended and five years behind bars. — VNS