Alleged Svay Rieng Fraudster Charged Following Failed Ruse

A 35-year-old man in Svay Rieng province was charged with fraud Thursday after he confessed to swindling hundreds of dollars from police officials in multiple provinces by pretending to work for the Council of Ministers’ supply department, police said.

Ro Seth, 35, was arrested on Tuesday while attempting to collect money from his latest victim, Ratanakkiri provincial police chief Nguon Koeun, according to Svay Rieng minor crimes police chief Keo Sotha.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Seth called Brigadier General Koeun, identified himself as Seng Tieng, deputy director of the supply department at the Council of Ministers, and asked for $250 he said would go toward the construction of a new pagoda, Mr. Sotha said.

Mr. Seth requested the money be transferred via mobile payment company Wing, he said.

“Nguon Koeun said he thought the call sounded like [a case of] fraud, so he asked the mobile phone company to check the number of the suspect,” he said, adding that Brig. Gen. Koeun then alerted police.

Mr. Sotha said officers then set a trap for Mr. Seth, instructing Brig. Gen. Koeun to transfer just $10. When the suspect came to collect the cash at a Wing outlet in Svay Rieng City, police officers swooped in.

“We arrested the suspect when he was at the Wing branch waiting for the money, and the court charged him with fraud [this] morning,” he said.

Mr. Sotha said Mr. Seth confessed to attempting to extort Brig. Gen. Koeun and said he had successfully duped three other police officials in different provinces, always using Mr. Tieng’s name.

“Each time, the suspect asked for $200 to $300,” he said.

The real Seng Tieng said Thursday that he had no idea his name had been used by an alleged fraudster, and called for Mr. Reth to be prosecuted.

“This man should be punished by law because he pretended to be me to defraud people,” he said.

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