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VIC Scammed by Conman - Criminal Law or Civil Law?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by profnick, 8 March 2016.

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  1. profnick

    profnick Member

    3 February 2016
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    I am in the US, married to a Cambodian woman whose brother is studying in Australia with his wife (both are returning to Cambodia). My wife just told me that her brother got hustled by a Cambodian woman married to an Aussie and living down there out of $20,000 and I wanted to know if something can be done, or whether this is a criminal law or civil law issue, and basically how to proceed.

    About 8 months ago, my brother-in-law's wife, who I will call 'in-law-wife', was at some ethnic market near Melbourne where she met a Cambodian woman (citizen of Aus) who I will call 'Thiefy'. They hit it off and Thiefy offers to rent them her basement at a good price. Thiefy offered in-law-wife a chance to make some good money by investing in some kind of a lending scheme (here I am also a bit lost regarding specifics how this works) involving Cambodians living in Australia who have no concept of how banking works.

    So over a few months, in-law-wife gives Thiefy $20,000 to invest without any papers, just word of mouth promise. So at some point, the agreed upon date arrives but instead of the principal + interest repayment, Thiefy and her husband tell them they got 1 day to move out or police will be called and they will be thrown out, and there is no money. So they move out and are embarrassed to do anything about the situation.

    1) Is it a waste of time to even try to get the money back since its a he said/she said type of situation?

    2) Is this considered a criminal or civil court matter?

    3) What is the best course of action to take to recover something?

    Thank you in advance for your time.
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

    16 April 2014
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    Hi Profnick,

    It would primarily be a civil matter. Did your in-laws sign anything - such as an agreement or similar about the investment? Did they receive any paperwork at all from Theify?

    They would have to take her to court and prove to the court that they gave money to theify on the understanding she was investing it for them and that she has not done what she agreed to do. There would be several bases on which to claim the return of the funds. They should speak with a lawyer about what it would cost to recover the funds. If they know of others who have suffered the same fate they may be able to share legal fees bringing a class action of sorts.

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