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Press Release

West Covina Man Arrested for Allegedly Attempting to Pick Up Money from Elderly Victims Who Were Defrauded in Phishing Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

LOS ANGELES – A San Gabriel Valley man is scheduled to appear in court this afternoon on federal charges stemming from his alleged attempt to obtain additional funds from two elderly victims who had already paid thousands as part of an online phishing scheme that locked up their home computer.

Tai Su, 48, of West Covina, is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. Su was arrested Friday in a sting orchestrated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and federal prosecutors Sunday filed a criminal complaint that alleges one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Su was arrested at the victims’ Encino residence when he showed up to retrieve $35,000 from the two elderly victims who had already paid the fraudsters $25,000 in cash. According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Su is part of a scheme that included a computer virus, callers pretending to help the victims, and two other people who masqueraded as federal agents.

The cyberattack began on April 23 when the victims opened an email and clicked on a link launching malware that seized their computer and displayed a phone number that was purportedly “Microsoft Support.” The victims called the number and spoke to a person who advised they had been “hacked,” and the hackers now had their bank account information at City National Bank.

The victims were then connected to another person pretending to be a “Fraud and Risk Investigator” with City National Bank, who instructed the victims to withdraw $25,000 in cash and give the money to purported “federal agents” who would come to the victims’ house. The victims withdrew the cash and, later on April 23, two men pretending to be federal agents – one of whom displayed a fake badge – came to the victims’ residence and collected the money.

Over the next two days, the scammers continued to seek additional funds from the victims, even directing them to make a $10,000 withdrawal at a particular City National Bank branch.

HSI agents on April 25 learned about the ongoing scam and planned a sting operation.

On April 26, during a series of phone calls with participants in the scheme, the victims agreed to make another $35,000 cash payment. After rebuffing demands to deposit the funds into a virtual wallet at a remote location, the victims arranged for another pick-up by a “federal officer” at their residence.

At the agreed-upon time, Su drove to the victims’ home. He identified himself to an 86-year-old victim, gave a passcode, and then said he was from Coinbase, a popular cryptocurrency platform. HSI agents then arrested Su, who was found to be carrying thousands of dollars in cash in large denominations, according to the affidavit.

A criminal complaint contains allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

The investigation was conducted by the Homeland Security Investigations-led El Camino Real Financial Crimes Task Force, a multi-agency task force that includes federal and state investigators who are focused on financial crimes in Southern California.

Assistant United States Attorneys Kedar S. Bhatia and Joseph De Leon of the General Crimes Section are prosecuting this case.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Vulnerable Communities Task Force, which is focused on investigating and prosecuting individuals and entities that prey on communities that typically are less likely to report crimes to law enforcement and historically have had less legal recourse to address the offenders targeting them. These groups may include immigrants and migrant workers defrauded in immigration schemes, indigent individuals reliant on public benefits, the elderly, and those who have been reluctant to seek assistance from government authorities.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. English, Spanish and other languages are available.


Thom Mrozek
Director of Media Relations
(213) 894-6947

Updated April 30, 2024

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-091