Five people were convicted yesterday and sentenced to prison terms of varying lengths for their roles in an embezzlement scheme at Canadia Bank last year that resulted in losses of as much as $2.7 million.
As the scheme’s mastermind, 30-year-old Yet Sopheaktra, formerly in charge of creating ATM cards at the bank, was sentenced to five years.
Sopheaktra’s mother, Chak Kimheng, received two years, a sentence changed to time served due to severe health problems. Sun Saonin, the 33-year-old boyfriend of Sopheaktra, also received two years, as did the other two suspects, 34-year-old Leng Sokry, who worked in the ATM division, and Tep Winchanthy, 28, who was sentenced in absentia.
All received fines and were ordered to pay back the full amount stolen.
“It is ordered that the five accused jointly pay a total of $2.7 million for damages and pay $200,000 in compensation to Canadia Bank as plaintiff,” said Kor Vandy, presiding judge at Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Sopheaktra declined to comment yesterday, but during her trial said she created fake ATM cards in the names of the other suspects and used them to withdraw more than $2.3 million – not the $2.7 million alleged – from March to October of last year. She later poured the funds into investments and gambling, she said at the time of the trial, in March.
Using multiple cards at a time, she said, “I withdrew between $10,000 to $20,000 from the ATM, and as I remember it, from March to October 2013, I have withdrawn more than $2.3 million from Canadia Bank.”
The Ministry of Interior’s serious penal police forces arrested four of the five suspects on October 3. At the trial, all but Sopheaktra denied being part of the scheme, though her boyfriend said that he was aware of one set of withdrawals totalling $10,000.
Canadia Bank attorney Te Chamnan told reporters outside the courtroom yesterday that the verdicts were “fair and could be accepted”.