In the recent past, lots of criminal cases of obtaining property by deception or fraudulent appropriation of property have been prosecuted by the Vietnam Police departments in relation to frauds in medical gloves and equipment sales contracts and transactions (especially medical face masks, gloves, PPE (personal protective equipment) and other medical equipment etc.)
Specifically, those prosecuted had taken advantage of huge demands of overseas countries and customers for medical equipment in large quantities for prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic. Afterwards, they advertised and introduced false information that they were manufacturers or agents/distributors/suppliers of a reputable medical equipment manufacturer in Vietnam. Believing in that fake information, foreign customers proceeded with negotiation and signing sale contracts, then made a deposit or payment in part or full of the contract value.
When it came to delivery, they usually gave lots of reasons to delay or even refuse to deliver the goods/ products such as: difficulty in delivery; price escalation; shortage of quantity, etc. and then, they suggested to liquidate the contracts or to extend the shipment schedule. What those fraudulent sellers had in common is when requested to refund the deposit/ partial payment from the buyers, they set out many reasons to avoid payment or even out of reach with the buyers. In some cases, they also proposed the buyers to get poor-quality goods or increase the price, etc.
The above said acts can be a basis for constitution of the crime of obtaining property by deception, also called fraudulent appropriation of property in accordance with Article 174 of the Penal Code 2015 of Vietnam (amendment, supplement in 2017). In term of behavior, those individuals/ organizations made the fraud successful by providing wrong information to recognize themselves as a manufacturer of medical equipment or as an authorized agent/ distributor of trusted medical equipment manufacturers in Vietnam to gain trust from the buyers, resulting in signing the sale contracts and making deposits or partial payments. After that, they intentionally illegally appropriate the money received from the foreign buyers.
Depending on the nature and seriousness of each fraud and/or the value of property obtained by deception (converted to Vietnam dong), an appropriate punishment shall be imposed on the offender by the competent Court in Vietnam. In case where the offender appropriates property worth 500,000,000 VND or more and/or takes advantage of the war or emergency situation to defraud and appropriate property, he/she may be sentenced to prison for up to 20 years or life imprisonment.
In the process of negotiation and performance of contracts for purchase of medical equipment with sellers who are individuals and companies in Vietnam, if buyers from overseas countries find out any signs of fraud as aforementioned, in order to protect the rights and property, it is a must to immediately contact a professional law firm to get legal advice or contact a relevant Vietnam Police department or Procuracy for help with investigation and prosecution of the crime if there are enough elements constituting the crime of obtaining property by deception or fraudulent appropriation of property.
In the process of investigation and settlement of the case, the Police may inspect, seize, and distrain property; block accounts and/or take other legal actions to the property obtained by deception according to the order and procedures provided by the Criminal Procedure Code 2015 (amended and supplemented in 2017) with the purpose of recovery and return of the appropriated money or property to the victims during the judgment enforcement.
At ALB & Partners Law Firm, our professional lawyers have a great deal of practical experience in assisting foreign clients in collection of their money in fraudulent cases of medical gloves, face masks, PPE or other equipment in Vietnam. We also work closely with the Vietnam Police to help Clients immediately investigate and denounce the frauds in relation to contracts for purchase of medical gloves or equipment in Vietnam.