News and Press Releases

STARBUCKS EMPLOYEE AND FIVE OTHERS INDICTED
IN $1.5 MILLION BANK FRAUD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2005

LAM THANH PHAM (33) of Westminister, California, HOUNG THANH NGUYEN (30) of Santa Ana, California, THANG VAN NGUYEN (31) of Garden Grove, California, BINH T. CHAU (32) of Garden Grove, California, DUNG VIET DINH (32) of Garden Grove, California and MY THI TRAN (29) of Garden Grove, California, were indicted for Bank Fraud by a Federal Grand Jury in Seattle on April 14, 2005.

According to the Indictment, MY THI TRAN, while employed in the Human Resources Department of the Starbucks Coffee Company, fraudulently obtained personal and confidential information about Starbucks employees, including bank account information. MY THI TRAN then allegedly disseminated this confidential information to others for the purpose of creating false identification documents. Using this information, LAM THANH PHAM, HOUNG THANH NGUYEN, THANG VAN NGUYEN, BINH T. CHAU, and DUNG VIET DINH, allegedly obtained funds from Washington Mutual Bank and Bank Of America by impersonating the legitimate account holders who had bank accounts at these institutions. The Indictment further alleges that the defendants obtained and cashed counterfeit checks made payable to the account holders, and made withdrawals against these accounts by using fraudulently obtained identification documents in the names of account holders. According to the Indictment, the scheme involved approximately 90 bank accounts and caused losses in excess of $1.5 million.

Bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, and up to 5 years of supervised release. An indictment contains allegations that have not yet been proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patricia Lally. For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington at (206) 553-4110.

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