|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON|
|TUESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2009||PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER|
|http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txe||DIRECT: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881|
PORT ARTHUR BUSINESSMAN SENTENCED FOR HURRICANE RELATED FRAUD
Ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution
BEAUMONT, TX – U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that a 52-year-old Port Arthur businessman has been sentenced to federal prison for hurricane related fraud in the Eastern District of Texas.
LOC CHANH TRAN, a/k/a VICTOR TRAN pleaded guilty on Jan. 5, 2009, to making a false statement to the Small Business Administration (SBA) in connection with an application he filed on behalf of Titan Seafood Corporation for federal disaster assistance. Tran was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.
According to information presented in court, on Jan. 19, 2006, Tran submitted a disaster loan application to the SBA on behalf of Titan Seafood. In the application, Tran represented that Titan Seafood had an additional business location in Abbeville, LA, that had sustained damage from Hurricane Rita totaling $2.8 million. To support the claim, Tran submitted a fraudulent commercial lease agreement and fraudulent invoices for repairs for the Abbeville property. However, neither Tran, nor Titan Seafood in Port Arthur, held any legal interest in the Abbeville property.
Further investigation revealed that although Tran's application was denied by the SBA, he conducted similar schemes during this time which resulted in the receipt of $1,042,389 from the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation and the XL Lloyds Insurance Corporation.
Tran has also been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $500,000 to the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation and $542,389 to the XL Lloyds Insurance Company.
In September 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice created the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, designed to deter, investigate and prosecute disaster-related federal crimes such as charity fraud, identity theft, procurement fraud and insurance fraud. The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force includes members of the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, among others.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ross.
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