The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday sentenced a 42-year-old woman to two years in prison for defrauding 35 people involved in a “tong tin” community savings scheme of $366,906.
Lim Chanvita was convicted of fraud and breach of trust following her arrest in May on suspicion of duping her fellow members of a tong tin circle—an informal lending scheme in which participants place equal sums in a pool and then bid for use of the funds each month—in Meanchey district.
After handing down the sentence, Judge Che Virak ordered Ms. Chanvita, who was the leader of a tong tin circle in Boeng Tompun commune, to pay back three of the victims their initial investments plus compensation totaling nearly $201,500.
The remaining 32 participants will have to file separate complaints to receive their money.
Chen Sokunthea, one of the victims, said Ms. Chanvita was her neighbor and had used “sweet words” to convince her to put cash in the fund.
“She promised to guarantee [my money] with her life—that is why I dared to…play tong tin with her,” Ms. Sokunthea said.