The Court of Appeal yesterday heard the case of a woman who was convicted and sentenced by Phnom Penh Municipal Court to 18 years in jail for defrauding 16 people whom she had rented vehicles from.
Presiding Judge Yun Narong identified the accused as Kheam Rotha, a 35-year-old widow who worked as a land broker and lived in a rental house in Por Senchey district’s Chom Chao I commune.
Judge Narong said Ms Rotha was charged with fraud with aggravating circumstances after she was arrested in April last year by military police in Kandal province.
He noted that between 2016 and 2018, Ms Rotha hired a total of 42 cars from 16 different people for $500 to $1,000 per month for each car, which she used for personal and business matters.
Judge Narong said Ms Rotha would rent out some of the cars to other people for a price of $600 to $1,500 per month, making a profit on each transaction.
He noted that Ms Rotha would take the other cars to pawn at garages in Phnom Penh and other provinces to make more money.
Judge Narong said Ms Rotha was arrested on April 14, 2018 by military police in Kandal province, following 16 complaints filed against her by the owners of the 42 cars.
He said that after her arrest, military police found and seized 34 cars from pawn shops in Phnom Penh and Kandal province, with the remaining eight still missing.
Judge Narong said on January 29, Ms Rotha was convicted and sentenced by Phnom Penh Municipal Court to 18 years in jail. The court also ordered her to pay $116,200 in damages to the plaintiffs.
Judge Narong added that Ms Rotha appealed the lower court’s decision to the Appeal Court for a reduced sentence.
During yesterday’s trial, Ms Rotha admitted committing the offence, saying that she rented out the cars she had hired from the victims for a monthly profit of $100 to $500 per car.
Ms Rotha also told the court that those who had hired the cars from her had cheated her and took the cars to pawn at garages before fleeing.
“I did not intend to cheat the victims,” she said. “However, I will take responsibility for the damages and the cars lost.”
“I would like to request that the Appeal Court reduce my sentence of 18 years to the minimum sentence of three years in jail so that when I am released from prison, I will be able to earn money to repay the victims as part of the judgement,” Ms Rotha added.
A verdict is due on July 26.