A 34-year-old Garden Grove man who pleaded not guilty in Orange County Superior Court Tuesday to cheating 42 distressed homeowners out of about $92,000 is facing similar charges in Riverside County, where he is accused of stealing more than $50,000 from 16 victims. Duy Khac Nguyen ran HAMP Resources in Garden Grove and First Universal Solutions in Lake Elsinore, according to prosecutors in each county.
First, the Orange County case: While HAMP Resources was up and running from February through July 2010, Nguyen falsely claimed to be part of the federal government's Home Affordable Modification Program (otherwise known as HAMP), according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (otherwise known as OCDA).
Nguyen promised to help customers lower their mortgage payments, but he pocketed the fees they paid him without ever assisting them, according to OC prosecutors, who note some victims would lose their homes to foreclosure.
Garden Grove Police, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program teamed up for the investigation of Nguyen, who right now faces 37 counts of grand theft, five counts of theft from an elder, sentencing enhancement allegations for property loss of more than $65,000 and up to 33 years and eight months in prison with a conviction.
Just in Orange County.
There are fears there may be more local victims–which could increase the criminal counts and penalties facing Nguyen. Anyone who believes that could be them is asked to contact OCDA Investigator Andy Terhorst at (714) 347-8691.
Over in Lake Elsinore, police detectives last month finished a three-year investigation of their own with help from USPIS and U.S. Treasury Department agents. Through First Universal Solutions, Nguyen is accused of stealing more than $50,000 from 16 victims in California and Hawaii.
Cops from Lake Elsinore and Garden Grove arrested Nguyen June 12 in the Orange County city. He was originally jailed in Riverside County and charged by the district attorney's office there with two counts of grand theft and one count of embezzlement.
There are also fears that there may be more Riverside County victims, and anyone who believes they are one is asked to call (951) 245-3119 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.