Identity Thieves Who Targeted Little Saigon Bank Customers Win Prison Trips
A Vietnamese immigrant identity theft ring that stole nearly $450,000 from unsuspecting victims in Southern California and used a portion of the funds for wild Las Vegas gambling trips to The Wynn Resort and Ceasar's Palace have no more dice to roll.
Late last month, U.S. District Court Judge Margaret M. Morrow sentenced 34-year-old, Saigon native Hung Nguyen and Bien Hoa's 31-year-old Eric Hoang to long federal prison trips and ordered them to pay restitution to the victims.
According to the Department of Justice, the men executed a sophisticated plot that targeted Chase bank customers with fake debit cards to drain accounts at various banks on Brookhurst in Little Saigon.
An identity theft task force and U.S. Postal Inspectors along with bank employees helped unravel the scheme in 2011.
Morrow gave Nguyen, who now lives in Garden Grove, 70 months in prison; Hoang, who lives in Santa Ana and whose father was a soldier in South Vietnam's military, received 61 months of incarceration.
Both men blame methamphetamine use for contributing to their crimes.
Eric Ma, a third hoodlum in the conspiracy, won diversion to a special treatment program.
Nguyen and Hoang remain locked in the custody of U.S. marshals at the Santa Ana Jail and will be bused to federal prison in coming days.
Assistant United States Attorney Ivy Wang, who is based inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, prosecuted the case.