Vietnamese National Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud, Identity Theft, and Money Laundering Scheme
BOSTON – A Vietnamese national pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to his role in an international scheme to use stolen payment card data and personally identifiable information to purchase and re-sell hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of consumer goods.
Tuan Dinh Nguyen, 30, a Vietnamese national, previously living in Melbourne, Australia, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy, one count of money laundering conspiracy, 13 counts of money laundering and aiding and abetting, and one count of aggravated identity theft. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled sentencing for Aug. 1, 2018.
In August 2015, Nguyen was indicted in federal court in Boston. Nguyen was then arrested in Australia in June 2017, and on Oct. 5, 2017, he was extradited to the United States.
Between December 2007 and December 2013, Nguyen and at least three others conspired to use stolen payment card data and personally identifiable information to purchase consumer goods online and to re-sell those items on auction websites, including Amazon, eBay, and Buy.com; they then wired the proceeds overseas.
Nguyen and his co-conspirators created fraudulent accounts on multiple auction websites, or used stolen usernames and passwords to take over subscribers’ legitimate accounts. They then posted popular goods for sale at a discounted price, including Apple merchandise, electronics, personal care items and books. However, Nguyen and his co-conspirators did not own or otherwise have these goods to sell. Instead, when customers of the auction websites purchased and paid for these items, Nguyen and his co-conspirators used stolen payment card and personally identifiable information to buy the items from Walmart.com or other e-commerce websites, and then shipped the items to the auction website customers, who never knew that the items they received had been purchased with stolen credit cards and re-sold to them at discounted prices.
To obtain the proceeds of the scheme, Nguyen and his co-conspirators recruited U.S. residents to withdraw and wire overseas the money that the unwitting customers had paid through the auction websites. In total, Nguyen and his co-conspirators stole and re-sold approximately $500,000 in consumer goods.
The charges of wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering, and money laundering conspiracy provide for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, forfeiture and restitution. The wire fraud charge carries a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the conspiracy’s gain or loss to any victim; and the money laundering conspiracy charge carries a fine of up to $500,000, or twice the amount of the money laundered. The aggravated identity theft charge provides for a mandatory two-year sentence to be served consecutively to any sentence imposed for the wire fraud conspiracy charge. Sentences are imposed by a U.S. district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and U.S. Marshal John Gibbons for the District of Massachusetts made the announcement today. Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Federal Police, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance in securing Nguyen’s extradition to the United States. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Kosto of Lelling’s Cybercrime Unit is prosecuting the case.