Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a couple accused of cheating about a dozen investors out of about $700,000 between 2015 and 2016.
Presiding Judge Kov Sao identified the couple as 48-year-old Ouch Seakrann, a former police officer with the Interior Ministry, and his wife 50-year-old Cheam Chanborey, owner of Duong Chan Development Company.
Judge Sao said they were both charged with forging public documents, using forged documents and fraud.
They were arrested on January 16 at their home in Russey Keo district.
According to Judge Sao, the two persuaded 13 land brokers to invest in a 400-hectare land in Oddar Meanchey province’s Sa’ang district.
He said the couple promised high returns after the land is sold to foreign-owned companies.
Judge Sao noted that the couple used forged documents to convince the victims to invest money.
“They received the money from the victims, but they did not actually have land or projects,” he said. “When the victims demanded their money back, the couple stalled because they didn’t have the money.”
He noted that the victims on December 28 lodged a complaint with Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
The couple was then arrested in accordance with a warrant for their arrests.
On January 18, the couple was charged and put in pre-trial detention.
Dam Sophon, one of the victims, yesterday said she was able to trust Ms Chanborey after counting $300,000 in cash at Ms Chanborey’s home.
She said Ms Chanborey later asked her to help count $12 million supposedly earned from previous land deals.
“I started trusting her after I helped count the large amounts of money,” Ms Sophon said. “In 2015, I invested $390,000, but I did not receive any benefits. She cheated me. I demand that the she pays me back my money.”
Ms Chanborey yesterday said the 13 victims were her friends and relatives who wanted to buy land.
She said that a Malaysian real estate company cancelled purchasing her project last year and the cancellation prompted victims to file the complaint.
Ms Chanborey said she purchased land in Oddar Meanchey for $1.7 million from villagers between 2009 and 2015.
She said the documents she used were not forged because they were issued by commune, district and provincial authorities.
Ms Chanborey said she and her husband never cheated money from the victims.
“I acknowledge that I know the plaintiffs, but I have never received any money from them,” she said. “I never cheated them or committed the offence the court has accused me of. I would like to ask the court to find truth and justice for me.”
Mr Seakrann also denied the allegations.
“I did not know anything about this,” he said. “This business is my wife’s business. She worked with the plaintiffs who were her relatives and friends, but I was not involved in this.”