So you've posted bond in the state's pending credit card fraud case against you. What's your next step? Clean up your act? Naw. Steal credit cards and blow cash like crazy in Vegas? That's more like it.
Well, a 62-year-old Costa Mesa man did just that. On Thursday, a federal jury found Hung Van Tieu guilty of conspiracy, two counts of credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.
As part of his scheme, in which he targeted people in the Vietnamese community, Tieu called credit card companies, pretended to be someone else and asked them to send a new card, saying he'd misplaced his. Then he “intercepted” the cards before the actual cardholders ever saw them, the press release states.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, told the Weekly that prosecutors didn't present evidence about how Tieu intercepted the cards at trial. He did say, however, that they think Tieu, or other members of the scheme, waited outside victims' homes for overnight delivery and took the cards.
Once he had the cards, Tieu headed to a slew of Vegas hotels — the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay, to be exact — where he used the fraudulent credit cards to withdraw thousand of dollars in cash. He also blew more than $100 grand at Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Burberry shops in Vegas and California, officials said.
Tieu, who faces between two and 32 years in federal prison, is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 30.
Tony Khaki Nguyen, a 41-year-old Westminster man who also played a role in the scheme, was sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison, officials said. The fraud scheme was uncovered by a task force of postal inspectors and secret service agents.