Woman Jailed for Attempted $1.5M Bank Fraud

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday sentenced a woman to one year in prison for creating fake documents and forging a bank manager’s signature that put the balance of her Cambodian Public Bank account at $1.5 million, when in fact there was only $50 dollars deposited.

It was the second time the court sentenced Chheng Sreymom, 23, a former cleaner at NagaWorld casino, who was convicted of forgery and using false documents in absentia on December 22 and sentenced to 14 months in jail, according to Chhit Boravuth, a lawyer for the bank.

Ms. Sreymom was the initial complainant, he added, filing a lawsuit against the bank in October when a cashier refused her attempt to withdraw the whole $1.5 million—despite the bank’s willingness to forget about the incident.

But she did not show up for the hearing on November 20, and was arrested in January when she took documents to the court to prove her case.

“If possible, I would like to ask the court to reduce the suspect’s sentence, or set her free and drop the charges, as we don’t have the intention to cause her harm,” Mr. Boravuth said in the courtroom.

But Presiding Judge Heng Kesro said the court had decided to uphold the guilty verdict, reducing her sentence by two months.

“The court decides to uphold the verdict…and sentences the accused Chheng Sreymom to 12 months in prison on charges of forgery and using forged documents,” he said.

Under questioning, Ms. Sreymom admitted she had made a mistake and said a Chinese man who gambled at NagaWorld told her the bank had cheated him of $1 million and had asked her to forge the documents, promising her $50,000 as a reward.

“I know I am wrong, I admit to the court I’m wrong,” she said, adding that she had agreed to the plan to help her poor family.

But deputy prosecutor Hor Lina said the amount of money she had attempted to defraud was a serious matter.

“This was millions of dollars,” he said. “My God, it’s nothing to laugh about, to let yourself be spun like a dice?”

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