SAN JOSE – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that on December 13, 2006, Federal District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel sentenced Ted Nguyen to 24 years in prison for his involvement in two attempted robberies, one of which resulted in the murder of an employee of Wintec Industries by a co-defendant. Nguyen pleaded guilty to criminal charges including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence, resulting in death. This sentence is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fremont Police Department.
In pleading guilty, Mr. Nguyen, 36, of Orange County, admitted participating in the affairs of a racketeering criminal enterprise that was involved in an attempted armed robbery of Swiss Watch and Jewelers in Alhambra, California in August 1998, and an attempted robbery of Wintec Industries in Fremont, California, several days later. During the failed robbery at Wintec Industries, an employee, Hsu Pin Tsai, was shot and killed as he attempted to flee the scene in his car. Co-defendant Anh The Duong is alleged to have been the shooter.
These attempted robberies and Mr. Tsai’s murder are part of a larger indictment charging multiple defendants with multiple robberies and murders committed in northern and southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada, over an eight year period, from 1993 to 2001. In entering his plea, Mr. Nguyen admitted the following facts concerning each offense:
Swiss Watch and Jewelers Attempted Robbery
In August 1998, Anh The Duong, 34, of Orange County, Ricky Vong, 31, of San Jose, Cuong (“Eddie”) Vuong, 36, of San Jose, Eugene Lee, 30, of Alameda County, Mr. Nguyen, and an unindicted co-conspirator agreed to rob Swiss Watch and Jewelers in Alhambra, California. Between August 24-26, 1998, Duong, Vong, Vuong, Lee, and Nguyen attempted to rob the store, while the unindicted co-conspirator was parked nearby, prepared to transport the weapons and stolen merchandise after the robbery. The robbery failed when they were unable to enter the building.
Wintec Industries Attempted Robbery and Murder
In August 1998, Duong, Vong, Vuong, Lee, Eng (“Wing”)Yong Feng, 43, of Northern California, Johnnie Tangha, 39, also of Northern California, Michael Liu, of Fremont, California, Jerry Hu, 29, of Alameda County, and Nguyen agreed to rob Wintec Industries, a computer component manufacturing company located in Fremont. Hu and Liu provided the inside information to carry out the robbery, including diagrams of the layout of the business, the business routines, and the type, value, and location of merchandise they could expect to find during the robbery. The robbers anticipated stealing millions of dollars worth of computer parts.
On August 28, 1998, Duong, Vong, Vuong, Feng, Lee, Tangha, and Nguyen attempted to carry out the robbery as planned using two vans that Liu and Nguyen had rented. Tangha drove one van, and dropped Lee, Vuong, and Nguyen off a short distance from the entrance to the Wintec facility. Lee, Vuong, and Nguyen approached the guard shack, subdued one guard and held a second at gunpoint while Duong drove the second van, with Vong and Feng as passengers, through the gate and headed towards the Wintec warehouse.
Upon seeing the arrival of the three masked men, a senior executive of Wintec got into his car and sped out of the facility, while Vuong and Lee shot at his car. At the same time, another employee, Hsu Pin Tsai, got into his car and sped to the back of the facility with Duong’s van in pursuit. After pinning Tsai and his car against a chain link fence with his van, Duong shot Tsai through the window. Tsai died shortly after being taken to the hospital. Lee, Vuong, and Nguyen fled the scene in the van being driven by Johnnie Tangha, and were arrested shortly afterwards, while Duong, Vong, and Feng escaped.
These attempted robberies and Mr. Tsai’s murder are part of a larger indictment charging Duong, Vong, Vuong, Feng, Tangha, Hu, and others, with multiple robberies and murders committed in northern and southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada, over an eight year period, from 1993 to 2001. Duong is alleged to have committed each of the murders, and the government is seeking the death penalty against him. Several other defendants have previously pled guilty and are facing up to life imprisonment. Hu and Lisbio Couto, 29, of Orange County, remain fugitives. All other defendants are in custody. Lee and Liu were charged separately and have pleaded guilty to those offenses. Another defendant, Vu Nguyen, was charged separately in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was convicted of all counts against him following a jury trial in January and February 2005. Vu Nguyen was sentenced to 29 years and 8 months’ imprisonment.
Mr. Nguyen was indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2003, and charged with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Sections 1962(c) and (d). In July 2004, the grand jury superseded the indictment. Mr. Nguyen was charged with one additional count, use of a firearm during a crime of violence, resulting in death, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 924(c) and (j). On May 17, 2006, Mr. Nguyen pleaded guilty to all counts.
James T. Chou is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Brenda Hodgen, Mae Chu, and Christine Tian, and Kimberly Hopkins. The prosecution is the result of a six year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Milpitas Police Department, Fremont Police Department, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, Fountain Valley Police Department, Garden Grove Police Department, Costa Mesa Police Department, Newport Beach Police Department, Santa Ana Police Department, Las Vegas Police Department, San Jose Police Department, and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office.
Case #: CR 01-20154 JF
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]