Police in Hanoi said Thursday that they have detained five members of an organized crime group for impersonating high-level army officers and forming a fake company to swindle almost 1,000 victims by offering them jobs in the non-existent military-run firm.
Legal proceedings have been launched against a five-member crime ring for “swindling to appropriate assets.”
Authorities first became aware of the group in early 2018 when multiple victims reported that Hoa Huu Long, a self-proclaimed major general in the country’s military, had offered them jobs at the alleged defense ministry-run firm Dong Duong Group in exchange for large sums of money.
The victims reported that they had waited for days to hear back from Long about when they would begin their employment, but all they heard was radio silence.
A police investigation quickly uncovered that the military had heard of neither Major General Long nor Dong Duong Group.
In 2015, ringleader Long, 54, and his associates, one of them his wife, produced fake defense ministry documents establishing the “Dong Duong Group,” police said.
|Police look at pictures of ring members in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The arrested, all civilians donning military uniforms to impersonate officers of different ranks, offered victims employment in exchange for VND65-150 million ($2,900-6,600), according to case records.
Long and the other members refused to offer invoices to the victims and asked that candidates keep their relationship with the company a secret, claiming it was the ministry’s confidential economic unit.
The fraudsters swindled several dozens of billions of Vietnamese dong from the scam over the past few years, police reported. (VND1 billion = $44,000)