Two Nigerian men and a Cambodian woman yesterday went on trial in Phnom Penh Municipal Court for cheating a man out of $8,000 through a fake joint venture to print counterfeit money.
Judge Chuon Soreasey said the three face between six months and three years in prison if convicted on fraud charges.
They are Onye Caefuna, 30, Pascal Awaski, 39, both Nigerian, and Mr Awaski’s girlfriend, Cambodian Chhaen Davy, 35.
The victim Sok Socheath met the two Nigerian suspects on Facebook in June 2016. They won his trust and he eventually agreed to fund a venture to forge US currency.
He was promised a 50 percent cut of the profits from the money-printing business. The suspects allegedly showed him the machine they would use to print the forged bills in a bid to convince him of the plan.
Mr Socheath was first asked to pay $8,000 to be a shareholder in the business. He transferred the money to the suspects in July, but heard nothing from them afterwards.
In October, the Nigerian men resumed chatting with Mr Socheath on Facebook and told the victim he would need to send them another $10,000 before the printing could get underway.
The victim then reported the case to police and the Interior Ministry, who set up a sting operation to arrest the suspects.
The three were caught when they went to meet Mr Socheath at a Wing money transfer shop on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
Mr Caefuna and Mr Awaski admitted their guilt in court. They said they committed the crime because they needed money to pay for their rent and living costs in Cambodia, requesting leniency from the court.
Ms Davy denied the allegations, saying she was only the girlfriend of Mr Awaski and knew nothing about the fraud.
“I am a victim of accusations,” she told the court, asking the judge to drop charges against her and release her from prison.
The verdict is due on June 22.