LOS ANGELES – October 31 2011 – A resident of Costa Mesa has been convicted of identity theft and other federal offenses – some of which were committed while he was free on bail in a state case – for his role in a credit card fraud scheme that targeted members of the Southland’s Vietnamese community.
Hung Van Tieu, 62, was found guilty Thursday afternoon of conspiracy, two counts of credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft by a federal jury. As a result of the verdicts, Tieu faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years and a statutory maximum sentence of 32 years in federal prison.
The evidence presented during a three-day trial in United States District Court showed that Tieu was involved in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain credit cards. Tieu and other members of the fraud scheme phoned credit card issuers, impersonated Vietnamese victim cardholders and asked the credit card companies to send replacement cards to the victims’ real billing addresses. The credit cards were intercepted before they could be delivered to the legitimate cardholders.
Tieu used the stolen credit cards to withdraw thousands of dollars in cash at the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay hotels in Las Vegas. He also purchased more than $100,000 in luxury goods, including Rolex watches and items at Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Burberry stores across Southern California and in Las Vegas. Tieu was found guilty in relation to conduct committed in early 2010 and in early 2011.
After pleading guilty one year ago in Riverside Superior Court, Tieu was sentenced earlier this year to 16 months in state prison in a credit card fraud case stemming from an arrest in September 2010.
Tieu is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Manuel Real on January 30, 2012.
Another person involved in the scheme, Tony Khac Nguyen, 41, of Westminster, was sentenced by Judge Real last month to 51 months in federal prison.
The case against Tieu and Nguyen is the product of an investigation by the Los Angeles Identity Theft and Economic Crimes (ITEC) Task Force, a task force that is funded by the United States Postal Inspection Service and is currently staffed by Postal Inspectors and agents from the United States Secret Service. ITEC also works with approximately 15 other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across Southern California.
Release No. 11-158