In a recent announcement by the Justice Department, it was revealed that two Orange County residents, Thao Thi Kim Nguyen and Nghiep Chinh Nguyen, have been charged with running a $2.2 million scheme that involved tricking banks into cashing out victims’ mortgages. The defendants are accused of stealing the identities of homeowners, primarily older Vietnamese Americans, in order to fraudulently obtain cash-out mortgages on their properties. Thao Nguyen allegedly opened accounts at two banks to collect the scheme’s ill-gotten gains, while Nghiep Nguyen and other co-schemers posed as the victims and forged their signatures on various documents. If convicted, the defendants could face up to 30 years in federal prison for each conspiracy and fraud charge, along with mandatory sentences for aggravated identity theft.
The fraudulent scheme in question involved the theft of identities of homeowners, particularly elderly Vietnamese Americans, in order to obtain cash-out mortgages on their properties. The defendants, Thao Thi Kim Nguyen and Nghiep Chinh Nguyen, allegedly posed as homeowners and forged their signatures to fraudulently obtain mortgages. The scheme operated for a four-month period in 2018, during which Thao Nguyen opened bank accounts to collect the ill-gotten gains. The defendants have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, with additional charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft for Thao Nguyen, and charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft for Nghiep Nguyen. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Details of the Scheme
The scheme began with Thao Nguyen opening bank accounts in her name at two different banks. The purpose of these accounts was to collect the fraudulent proceeds from the scheme. Thao Nguyen would then visit the banks, accompanied by Nghiep Nguyen and other co-schemers who posed as the victim homeowners. They would forge the victims’ signatures on documents, including bank and mortgage forms, as well as grant deeds for the victims’ properties. Nghiep Nguyen allegedly used counterfeit California driver’s licenses and Social Security cards containing the victims’ names to further the fraud. The victims’ names were also added to the bank accounts controlled by Thao Nguyen. Through these accounts, Thao Nguyen received wire transfers totaling over $2 million in fraudulently obtained cash-out mortgage proceeds. She would then transfer the funds to other accounts she controlled and make cash withdrawals totaling approximately $1 million. The remaining funds were distributed among the co-schemers involved in the operation.
According to the indictment, the defendants fraudulently obtained approximately $2,182,753 through the scheme. This amount was obtained by cashing out mortgages on properties owned by the victims, primarily elderly Vietnamese Americans. The scheme targeted vulnerable homeowners and exploited their identities to obtain large sums of money.
Potential Legal Consequences
If convicted of all charges, Thao Nguyen and Nghiep Nguyen could face a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for each conspiracy and fraud charge. Additionally, they would face a mandatory sentence of two years in federal prison for each aggravated identity theft charge. It is important to note that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The fraudulent scheme detailed in this article is currently being investigated by multiple agencies. The main investigating agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General, and IRS Criminal Investigation. These agencies are working together to gather evidence and build a strong case against the defendants. Additionally, the Long Beach Police Department, California Attorney General’s Office, and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office have provided assistance in the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Charles E. Pell, along with Special Assistant United States Attorney Gregory B. Wagner, is prosecuting the case against Thao Nguyen and Nghiep Nguyen. As part of the prosecution team, they are responsible for presenting the evidence and arguing the case in court. Their goal is to ensure the defendants are held accountable for their alleged crimes.
For further information or inquiries about the case, you may contact the Public Information Officer, Ciaran McEvoy, via email at email@example.com or by phone at (213) 894-4465. The Public Information Officer is available to provide updates and answer any questions you may have regarding the investigation and legal proceedings.
For additional information about similar cases and ongoing investigations, you may refer to the following related content:
- “Barbados Resident Charged with Running $3.1 Million Stock Scam”
- “Ringleader of Money Laundering Group Sentenced to Nearly 6 Years in Prison”
- “Orange County Businessman Pleads Guilty to Fraudulently Obtaining Over $5.2 Million”
USAO – California, Central
If you need further assistance or have any questions regarding the Central District of California, you can reach out to the USAO – California, Central. Their contact information is as follows:
- Press Release Number: 23-173
- Address: 312 North Spring Street Suite 1200, Los Angeles, California 90012
- Phone: 213-894-2400
- Fax: 213-894-0141
For questions or inquiries about government services, you can contact USA.gov, which offers information in Spanish as well. They can provide assistance and information regarding a wide range of government services and resources.