A Vietnam court has sentenced three Chinese men to up to 35 months in jail for using fake credit cards to appropriate money from others by paying for made-up taxi trips via Point of Sale devices in local cabs or paying for purchased goods.
Lin Peng, 40, Chen Shujian, 37, and Vu Zhi Xiong, 26, were sentenced to 35 months, 32 months and 24 months in prison, respectively, at their trial opened by the Hanoi People’s Court on Tuesday.
They were charged with “using computer networks, telecommunications networks, Internet or digital devices to appropriate property” pursuant to Article 226b of the Penal Code.
According to the indictment as well as the defendants’ testimonies, the group arrived in Vietnam in early April 2014 and brought along machinery and equipment to use to make fake credit cards by using the information of foreign cardholders they had bought from hackers.
They then colluded with a number of taxi drivers in a scam in which they used fake card to pay bogus taxi fares through Point of Sale (POS) devices installed inside cabs.
Specifically, these Chinese men did not take any taxi trips but they asked the taxi drivers of several firms to allow them to pay for sham rides with their counterfeit cards by means of the POS devices in the drivers’ cars.
The group and taxi drivers entered into an agreement whereby the latter paid the former in cash equal to the amount of money charged through the POS devices, and then the former would return a commission of 20 percent of the charge.
The three foreigners also used fake cards to buy goods and then re-sell them for cash.
They were arrested on April 22, 2014 while using a fake card to pay bogus taxi fares through a POS machine installed inside a cab in Hanoi.
On searching their rooms at two hotels in Ba Dinh District, police seized a laptop, a piece of equipment for loading data into credit cards, a machine used to stamp patterns on credit cards, a POS device and 109 credit cards of different types. Police said the men had bought the personal information of real cardholders from hackers to counterfeit their credit cards.
The jury determined that Lin played the main role in the scam, so they gave him the heaviest sentence.