FBI Arrests Little Saigon Businessman & Westminster Cop for Loan Sharking
Following a lengthy U.S. Department of Justice investigation into loan-sharking operations in Orange County's Little Saigon area, FBI agents late this morning arrested a local businessman and a veteran police officer.
DOJ busts alleged Little Saigon police corruption scheme
Kevin Khanh Tuan Do--the 38-year-old owner of Do Construction & Design Inc. on Bolsa Avenue--employed 28-year-old Westminster Police Department officer Anthony Duong Donner as an enforcer in his illegal activities, according to an affidavit filed by an FBI Special Agent inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana.
Both Do and Donner are presently in federal custody.
FBI Special Agent Joseph Paul Nieblas, who is assigned to public-corruption cases, claims in his affidavit that Do and Donner lived together at Do's Fountain Valley residence from 2011 to this month. But it wasn't a normal relationship, according to Nieblas. He says the cop "lived at Do's house rent-free as long as Donner helped out" the businessman, according to court records.
The FBI agent states that Do loaned the owner of a Garden Grove coffee shop and a Westminster lounge $170,000 in 2011 at 5 percent-per-month interest and a whopping 60 percent annual percentage rate.
Do used Donner to collect payments from the woman, and "Do threatened [the business owner] on various occasions if [she] did not pay Do back the loan, including but not limited to using WPD officers to interfere with her business and to cite her for driving under the influence, whether she had been drinking or not, which would negatively affect her license to sell alcohol at her business," the FBI affidavit states.
Using court-authorized text-message and phone-call intercepts, the FBI watched Do utilize "local law-enforcement officials, including Donner, to intimidate payment from [the businesswoman]," according to the affidavit.
(The victim was frightened of Do, and herself became an FBI target in November 2012 after she paid $3,700 in bribes to a local police officer who was acting in an undercover capacity, according to Nieblas.)
The businesswoman told the FBI that officers working for Do "have interfered with her business with patrol cars, doing car stops on employees after work, and entering the business to intimidate customers."
FBI agents reviewed GPS records of the patrol vehicles used by Donner and other police officers and determined the information "corroborated" that the cops "were at [her] business at the times she complained of harassment," according to court records.
In an Aug. 21, 2013, interview with FBI agents, Donner admitted he collected money for Do "on several occasions" while on duty and in uniform, as well as using his position as a cop to follow Do's instructions to issue tickets to the businesswoman, who owns a home in Santa Ana.
The FBI intercepted a November 2012 call in which Do told the victim, "I don't have time waiting for you [to make payments]. I'm busy; that is why I called [Donner] to take care of this for me," according to the government's affidavit.
Intercepted text messages from the cop show him demanding the businesswoman make larger payments to Do and then physical surveillance found the officer driving Do's white Mercedes sedan to an encounter with the victim, according to court records.
Undercover agents watching Donner claim they lost him after he collected one payment because he "sped up to 60 to 70 mph" heading into a residential area.
In another intercepted call, Do's relative told the victim that officer Donner is Do's "soldier" and that he does what he's told to do in the alleged loan-sharking operation.
The cop even served as "a lookout" for Do--who demanded that the victim surrender her home as a payment--by alerting him when other police officers were nearby while he was conducting loan sharking affairs, according to the FBI affidavit.
After admitting his role in the loan sharking scheme, Donner blew off a scheduled Aug. 27 follow-up meeting with the FBI. He advised the agents that he'd disclosed the federal probe to "several individuals and had decided he no longer wished to cooperate," according to court records.
Donner, who speaks Vietnamese, graduated from La Quinta High School in the Garden Grove Unified School District, attended California State University at Long Beach, graduated from the Golden West Police Academy in 2007 and that same year won a cop job at Westminster PD, where he'd previously served as an intern. He won honors from police management for exemplary public service in September 2007 and October 2010.
Do has a reputation for hobnobbing with police officers and entertaining several politicians.
Donner told the FBI that Do is "very sociable" and likes to drink alcohol and sing karaoke.
Veteran federal prosecutors Brett Sagel and Jospeh McNally are handling the case for the U.S. Department of Justice. Sagel and another colleague successfully prosecuted corrupt Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, who is now serving a 66-month sentence in a Colorado prison.
The motto of the Westminster Police Department is "Service With Integrity."
[***Update, 6:45 p.m., Aug. 30: Our initial report incorrectly stated that the loan sharking victim owns Ocean Blue Restaurant. It should have stated that Do, the alleged loan shark, was patronizing Ocean Blue Restaurant one night when he gave orders to police officer Donner, according to the FBI.]