Microfinance Branch Manager Arrested for Large-Scale Theft

The manager of a microfinance company branch office in Kandal province was arrested and charged last week for allegedly stealing at least $165,000 from the firm and its customers.

Loch Chamroeun, the 33-year-old manager of the Ang Snoul district branch of Prasac, a micro-lender, was arrested Thursday in Siem Reap province, Hang Sophat Phearom, the head of the provincial police force’s minor crimes bureau, said on Sunday.

“He fled from Kandal province to our province and we arrested him while he was hiding at his friend’s house,” he said. “We arrested him based on a warrant from the Kandal Provincial Court.”

The warrant, published online by a local news outlet and dated Wednesday, says Mr. Chamroeun was accused of breach of trust for an incident in February.

Kandal Provincial Court spokesman Ek Sun Reaksmey said on Sunday that Investigating Judge Y Sovann, who issued the arrest warrant, charged the branch manager with breach of trust on Friday and placed him in pretrial detention.

He said Prasac filed the complaint against Mr. Chamroeun claiming he had stolen more than $140,000 from the company and more than 100 million riel, or about $25,000, from its customers. He declined to elaborate how Mr. Chamroeun allegedly committed the crime.

Cambodia Express News published unattributed reports over the weekend saying that Mr. Chamroeun allegedly stole $160,000 from Prasac and $300,000 from its customers.

Mr. Reaksmey said the higher figures were possibly accurate and that he expected more customers to start filing complaints claiming to having been cheated.

“After he was arrested, a customer came to file a complaint with us and I guess that on Monday many customers will come to file complaints against him,” he said.

A man who answered Prasac’s Ang Snoul district branch office telephone declined to comment and referred a reporter to an executive at the Phnom Penh head office, who could not be reached. A woman who answered another listed number for the company’s head office said the company could only respond to questions today.

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