The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday sentenced a couple to seven years in prison for commiting land fraud in 2015.

Siek Leng and Chan Boramey were found guilty of forging public documents, fraud and using fake public documents under Articles 629, 630 and 377 of the Criminal Code.

The court also ordered them to pay their 12 victims either $3,950 or $51,300 each.

The judge told the couple in the courtroom: “If the two who have been found guilty are not satisfied with this sentence, you have the right to file an appeal within one month from the day the verdict was announced.”

Shortly after the verdict’s announcement, Chan Boramey shouted in the courtroom: “I am not satisfied with the verdict and I will file an appeal!”

Tuon Sreng, a woman who claimed to be a victim and a representative for another 11 victims, said she was happy when the Phnom Penh municipal court had sentenced the couple to seven years in prison.

“The court provided justice for us. I thank the court,” she said, adding that she had been cheated out of more than $40,000 by the couple.

She said in 2015, the couple had encouraged her to invest in buying land together in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district if she had money.

Sreng initially invested $4,000. Later, Chan Boramey “ordered” her to invest more money. Sreng said she had to take a loan amounting to more than $45,000 including interest.

All 12 victims gave money to Chan Boramey but eventually, there were no updates from her. When confronted, Chan Boramey told the victims: “The land is bought by the Chinese-owned company and you [must] wait before collecting profits because the land had mines.”

When they realised that the couple had deceived them, they filed a complaint with the Ministry of Interior and the police arrested the couple on January 16 last year.