PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday heard the case against a 39-year-old businesswoman charged with fraud and forging private documents, after being accused of cheating the daughter of a CPP official out of more than US$1 million.
Oeung Rithea, was detained in April following a complaint filed to the Ministry of Interior by Chea Chamroeun, a Cambodian People’s Party representative in Kandal province and the dean of the Chamroeun University of Poly-Technology.
The complaint accuses Oeung Rithea of not repaying the $1,090,500 they lent to her to invest in six markets in Takeo, Kampong Chhnang, Kampot and Kratie provinces.
It also accuses her of spending an unspecified amount of the funds on purchasing a house and other items for herself.
The accused told the court that she had borrowed money from Chea Chamroeun’s wife, daughter and relatives to make investments, but claimed the amount was closer to $450,000.
“I didn’t receive all of the money, and it was not the $1,090,500 as it is claimed,” she told the court.
But Chea Chamroeun’s lawyer Touch Chhay told the court that a contract thumbprinted by the defendant proved that she borrowed the entire amount.
“The sum dates back to 2007 and is hard evidence that has already been copied for court officials,” he said.
Oeung Rithea later acknowledged the contract, but claimed that she falsified the amount to fool her husband during divorce proceedings.
She also acknowledged forging the thumbprint of Chap Bun Ravy, Chea Chamroeun’s daughter and co-director of a new market in Kratie, in a letter which stated that Chap Bun Ravy would attend a meeting regarding the market and which she submitted to the director of the provincial financial department.
“I forged the document out of fear that the [Kratie] market would face closure,” she said.
The complaint letter requests repayment of the amount in full and $3 million in compensation “for repairing our reputation, dignity and for wasting our time”.
Oeung Rithea faces between one and five years in prison for each charge and a fine of between 1 million riels (US$237) and 10 million riels if found guilty of forging private documents.
A verdict is scheduled for November 18.