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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Fake Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Members of Immigrant Communities in Northern Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A California man pleaded guilty today to posing as a lawyer in order to defraud numerous car accident victims who were members of immigrant communities in Northern Virginia.

According to court documents, Tuan Duc Nguyen, 55, of Garden Grove, falsely held himself out to car accident victims and insurance companies alike as a lawyer for over four years. In the course of his scheme, Nguyen told victims he would represent their interests and they would receive settlement proceeds from insurance companies. But instead of disbursing funds to the victims, Nguyen kept the money for himself. Nguyen carried out the scheme by providing false address information to settling insurance companies so that the victims would not learn of the settlement and by signing documents with false signatures. When victims contacted Nguyen to inquire about the status of their claims, Nguyen often deceived them by stating that negotiations were ongoing when, in fact, the claims had already been settled and Nguyen had stolen the money.

Nguyen pleaded guilty to mail fraud and wire fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on September 6. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the plea. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Dober and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-329.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated May 2, 2019