Mother and daughter get 19 years for half-trillion rupiah Ubud villa scam targeting Saudi princess

Evie Marindo Christina. Photo: Police handout
Evie Marindo Christina. Photo: Police handout

A woman and her daughter were each sentenced to 19 years in prison for defrauding Princess Lolowah bint Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, after they promised her a villa resort in Ubud that never came to be.

In 2008, the royal became acquainted with an Indonesian citizen named Eka Augusta Herriyani, the latter of whom worked at a Malaysian company in which Lolowah was a shareholder. 

The princess visited Bali the following year and expressed her interest in property investment on the island. Eka introduced Lolowah to her daughter Evie Marindo Christina, who was said to be able to assist with permits.

The mother and daughter pair scouted for villa locations and settled on a site in the Tampaksiring sub-district of Gianyar regency. 

After Lolowah approved the site, she wired IDR505 billion (US$33.7 million) to Eka and Evie between 2011 and 2018 for the development of two villa resorts. 

Eka and Evie purchased seven plots of land for IDR38.4 billion (US$2.56 million) and set aside IDR37.6 billion (US$2.51) for the construction of the villas. They pocketed the remaining IDR429 billion (US$28.6 million), which they used to buy cars and properties in Malang and Jakarta.

In addition, they offered the princess 1,600 square meters of land for the construction of a restaurant in the Berawa area of Badung regency, for which she wired more than US$500,000. The princess then changed her mind and asked for her money back, but Eka never made the transfer despite promising to do so. It was later revealed that the land was not up for sale to begin with.

Eka and Evie went into hiding and were declared fugitives by the National Police before their arrests in February 2020. In October 2020, the Gianyar District Court sentenced them to four years in prison each for fraud.

More recently, the Gianyar District Court sentenced each to 19 years in prison in a separate money laundering trial.

“What weighed against the convicts was that they tarnished the good name of Indonesia, particularly Bali, in the eyes of the world. It was also the case that the victim was a princess who wanted to bring in foreign investment,” Gianyar District Court spokesman Erwin Harlond said yesterday when commenting on the latest sentence.

Eka and Evie are also obligated to each pay an IDR1 billion fine in lieu of an additional six months in prison. The princess is not getting her money back, as the money Eka and Evie pocketed have been declared unaccounted for.

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