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Land scammer sent to prison

Land scammer sent to prison

A husband and wife were convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday of defrauding a businessman of $1.2 million by accepting payment for land, then failing to provide the buyer with proper ownership titles last year.

Businesswoman Ou Kolly, 53, was convicted on charges of fraud and issuing bad cheques, while her husband, Tep Samorn, 62, was convicted in absentia as an accomplice to both charges.

“The court sentences Ou Kolly, also known as Mae Adoup, to three years in prison and fines her six million riel [about $1,500], [and] sentences Tep Samorn, also known as Ta [Grandfather] Ouch, to two years and fines him three million riel,” presiding judge You Bunna said yesterday, reading from the verdict.

The court also ordered the pair to repay the victim’s $1.2 million investment.

Kolly, 53, was sued by Eng Meng Heang for purporting to sell him 100 hectares of land in Kampong Chhnang province. However, when he demanded land titles, it became apparent that “she had no land, and had run off with the money”, Bunna said at last week’s trial.

When Meng Heang demanded to be reimbursed, Kolly issued a series of 14 bad cheques.

During her trial, Kolly confessed and requested to be released on the condition that she repay all the money, but said she had “already spent [$100,000 of the] deposit money on relevant local authorities for their work in cutting the land’s plans, and issuing land certificates”.

In January, 80 families accused Kolly of wrongfully claiming 100 hectares of their land.

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