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Woman allegedly issued $800K in bum cheques

Preah Siri Sophea, who was tried for cheque fraud, walks outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.
Preah Siri Sophea, who was tried for cheque fraud, walks outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Vireak Mai

Woman allegedly issued $800K in bum cheques

A woman was tried for allegedly failing to repay $820,000 in private debts by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday afternoon.

Defendant Preah Siri Sophea, 33, owner of “Call Me” restaurant in the capital’s Daun Penh district, maintained she had borrowed the money with the intent to loan it out at higher interest but failed to collect and so could not repay her debts.

Presiding judge Long Kesphirum said Sophea, who is being sued by her 38-year-old former friend Ros Dina, is charged with fraud and violating article 231 of the Finance Law for issuing eight invalid cheques amounting to $820,000.

Hoeng Bunthan, a deputy prosecutor, said that in 2012, Sophea began to serially borrow money from the plaintiff amounting to $700,000, with interest eventually bringing the debt to $820,000.

“[Sophea] has issued eight different cheques worth $820,000 to the victim and wrote that the plaintiff would get all her money back from Acleda Bank,” he said.

“But when the victim brought those cheques to recover the money from the bank, [the account] was without funds,” he added.

Dina said that Sophea, arrested in December 2014, had repaid $155,000, but she is still demanding the full $820,000 along with $200,000 in damages, bringing the total claim to $1.02 million.

Sophea admitted to writing the cheques but said she never intended to cheat the plaintiff. A verdict is due December 9.

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