|Chau Thi Thu Nga at the appeal court.
Nga and eight other defendants appealed against the verdict made by the Hanoi People’s Court in the first instance trial that took place from October 2-16, 2017. As many as 189 victims in the case also asked the court to review its decision.
At the first trial, Nga was sentenced to life imprisonment for swindling to appropriate assets. However, she said that the punishment is too strict and refused to compensate VND54 billion (US$2.3 million) as ordered by the court.
The other defendants filing appeals also asked for reduced punishment or suspended sentences.
Nga’s accomplices received various prison terms, including former Deputy General Directors of Housing Group Nguyen Truong Son (six years in prison), Le Hong Cuong (four years), Nguyen Vu Hung (30 months), and Phan Thanh Tuyen (24 months).
Two former Directors of Housing Group Real Estate Trading Floor Nguyen Thi Tinh and Luu Thi Thuy were sentenced to seven years and 36 months in prison, respectively. Former chief accountant of the firm Pham Thi Thu Hanh got 36 months while another former chief accountant Dinh Phuc Tieu was given 36 months’ probation. Former acting chief accountant of Housing Group Doan Thi Thanh Thuy was jailed for 24 months.
Only Dinh Phuc Tieu did not appeal.
The verdict read that Nga knew the adjusted planning of the B5 Cau Dien housing project had yet been approved and its construction had yet been licensed. She also knew that Housing Group had not been permitted to mobilise capital paid in advance by those who wanted to buy apartments in the project.
However, Nga, together with the nine accomplices, intentionally carried out activities to swindle home buyers to appropriate their money.
Nga and her accessories appropriated over VND377 billion (US$16.59 million) of 726 home buyers. She returned only VND28.7 billion (US$1.26 million) to 43 clients.
Up to 475 out of 726 clients sent letters of denunciation to the Investigation Department of the Ministry of Public Security, while others also asked for the refund of their appropriated money.