Michigan-Based Prison Consultant Admits Role in Conspiracy to Defraud Federal Bureau of Prisons
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that TONY TUAN PHAM, also known as “Anh Nguyen,” 50, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to conspiracy and wire fraud offenses for his role in defrauding the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). The scheme involved coaching prospective and current federal inmates who would not otherwise require substance abuse treatment how to lie to gain admission into a BOP program that, if completed successfully, would result in a shortened prison term.
According to court documents and statements made in court, the Residential Drug Abuse Program (“RDAP”) is a 500-hour substance abuse treatment program that is administered by the BOP. In order to gain admission to the RDAP, a federal inmate must meet certain criteria, including having a diagnosable and verifiable drug or alcohol abuse disorder. By successfully completing the RDAP, an inmate can qualify for up to 12 months in early release from custody.
Pham was a “Managing Partner” of Michigan-based RDAP Law Consultants, LLC. Pham, and others he supervised at RDAP Law Consultants, contacted federal criminal defendants and inmates through unsolicited emails and telephone calls with offers to assist, for a fee, those individuals in applying to, and qualifying for, the RDAP. Although Pham knew that many of the company’s clients did not abuse alcohol or drugs and were ineligible for the RDAP, he coached them how to feign or exaggerate a drug or alcohol disorder, and to make false statements to the BOP so they could gain admission to the RDAP.
Between September 2012 and January 2019, RDAP Law Consultants earned at least $2,628,137 in client fees through this scheme.
Pham was living in a residential reentry center (“halfway house”) when the scheme began.
Pham was arrested on January 23, 2019.
Judge Meyer scheduled sentencing for March 18, 2020, at which time Pham faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 25 years. Pham is released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing.
This investigation has been conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan N. Francis and Trial Attorney Avi Perry of the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section, who has been designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for this matter.
U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of West Virginia and the Western District of Michigan for their assistance in this matter.