The top management of Hanoi firm Bankland have been arrested for allegedly defrauding 4,000 people with a Ponzi scheme and offering shares to the public without permits.
Chairman Quan Van Duong and deputy chairwoman and CEO Nguyen Thi Nhu were taken in Tuesday for “appropriation of property” along with three others, Vu Duc Tinh, Nguyen Duc Minh and Nguyen Van Minh.
Tinh, who is thought to be the mastermind behind the fraud, established Bankland in 2021 but made Duong and Nhu its face while he stayed behind the scenes and took a 10% cut in revenues.
The company advertised itself as a property developer and car trader but in reality did not do any business. Instead, it offered investors 43.2% annual interest and gifts such as gold, land, cars, motorbikes, and tourism packages.
In June last year Duong established BanklandExchange without getting permits, advertised it as a digital securities trading platform, and issued 10,000 shares under the ticker BLI at $0.0001.
He also offered investors “bond packages” worth up to $10 million each.
Bankland told investors it owned lands in prime locations in Thuong Tin District, but investigators have since found that these are agriculture lands and so cannot be used to develop any project.
Investors have not received title deeds for lands and got the promised interest for only three months last year before it stopped.
Bankland had obtained over VND400 billion ($17 million) from them in all.
Last November Tinh told its colleagues to sell the properties to disappear.
The police are expanding the investigation to see if there are more victims and culprits.
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