Lieutenant Colonel Sam Sarith, personal assistant to a secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Unit, was charged yesterday with fraud, according to court officials.
Despite being initially investigated for extortion and blackmail, Sarith, 43, was charged with cheating more than $10,000 from Hun Bunthoeun, head of a real estate company, said Meas Chanpiseth, deputy prosecutor at Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
“For his case, I did not find that it was related to money extortion,” he said.
While extortion carries a sentence punishable by up to five years in prison, the fraud charge levelled at the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces member instead comes with a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment.
Chanpiseth said that the suspect was sent to Prey Sar prison, but declined to give further details.
The investigation of Sarith and two other government officers began after Bunthoeun filed a complaint with the ACU, alleging that Ministry of Justice officials had used his pending land dispute lawsuit as blackmail to extort money from him.