News and Press Releases

Former Las Vegas Resident Pleads Guilty In Federal Court to Foreign Investment Scheme

March 21, 2002

Las Vegas, Nev. - Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, and Grant Ashley, Special-Agent-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for Nevada, announce that Alain Vu, a former resident of Henderson, Nevada, pled guilty yesterday in federal court in Las Vegas to Wire Fraud.

Vu pled guilty to a Criminal Information which states that beginning in approximately November 1998 and continuing through at least April 2000, Vu devised a scheme to defraud investors by claiming that he operated a charitable entity called the "International Children's Society"(ICS). Vu told the investors that ICS had access to currency trading programs in Europe, and guaranteed them a return on their investments of 100% to 300% per month. Vu also advised the investors that secrecy was important because banks did not provide information to the general public about programs such as ICS, and that only non-profit organizations and financial institutions could take advantage of them. Vu also claimed that the investments were risk-free and that the plan was endorsed by the United States Treasury. Vu invested no money on behalf of the victims, and in fact, appropriated the monies for himself. The structure of the scheme is recognizable as a "prime bank" scheme, wherein it is claimed that only "prime banks" (or in this case, non-profit organizations) are able to invest in the high-yield trading programs. It is also generally claimed by the perpetrators of such schemes that the public is kept in the dark by the banks so that the banks alone might reap the large, quick profits. The U.S. Treasury is well aware of such schemes, and "endorses" neither such schemes in general, nor this one in particular.

Mr. Vu is scheduled for sentencing July 12, 2002, before U.S. District Court Judge Phillip Pro. The offense of Wire Fraud is a felony, which has a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be dictated by the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and will be imposed in the discretion of the Court.

The prosecution is the result of an investigation by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation . The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Parrella.

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