FRESNO, CA -- United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams announced today that Shirley Wong, aka Ngoc Li Vuong, 43, of San Jose, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for conspiring to commit mail fraud in connection with the financing and acquisition of two houses in Fresno and Clovis that were later used for marijuana cultivation. Wong was also ordered to pay restitution to the lenders who were forced to foreclose on the properties and suffered a loss of $342,095.
Wong admitted in her guilty plea that she bought two houses with the help of real estate agent and co-defendant Monique Le Nguyen. The Clovis house came to the attention of law enforcement when it caught fire, and Clovis Police found approximately 200 marijuana plants growing inside it. The Fresno house was also intended to be used for the indoor cultivation of marijuana. Loan applications for both the Clovis and Fresno residences falsely stated that the properties would be owner-occupied, misrepresented Wong’s employment, overstated her income and bank account balances, and used falsified bank records.
Last December, Nguyen was sentenced to a 20-month prison term following her guilty plea to the mortgage fraud conspiracy. Wong has been detained since February 2010.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), an interagency program which investigates and prosecutes major drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States. The DEA led the investigation with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Clovis Police Department, Fresno Fire Department and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.