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Fraudsters fined: Conviction after group fund is lost

A gambling couple’s luck ran out yesterday when a judge sentenced them to two years in prison and issued $82,000 in fines and restitution after finding them guilty of taking a group investment and blowing it at the casino.

Phnom Penh municipal judge Kim Dany convicted Pin Chanthy, 33, of fraud for taking $80,000 of 20 people’s mutually invested money and spending it, rather than saving or investing it. Her 30-year-old husband, Kong Ratha, evaded arrest but was convicted in absentia.

“The court sentenced them both to two years in prison and 8 million ($2,000) riel in fines,” Dany said. “They are also ordered to jointly pay $80,000 to the victims.”

In the so-called tontine, a complex investment agreement that can take various forms, 20 members pooled their cash together. Each month, a different member managed the fund. But after Chanthy and Ratha took their turn, the money was gone.

Chanthy declined to comment yesterday. During her May 26 trial, however, she said she had squandered the money on ill-fated bets.

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