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Press Release

Criminal Complaint Charges Two Men With Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud

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

Baltimore, Maryland – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland has filed a federal criminal complaint charging Minh Phuong Vong and a second individual “John Doe” whose true identity remains unknown with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349.  

The criminal complaint was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge William J. DelBagno of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.  The complaint was filed on May 15, 2024.   According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint,

Vong, a native of Vietnam, and a naturalized United States citizen, conspired with an unknown individual, John Doe, to commit wire fraud by making false and fraudulent statements and representations to a United States company over the Internet in order to persuade the company to hire Vong as a fullstack web developer for the purpose of receiving salary payments for work not performed by Vong.  

As alleged, the false representations included statements about Vong’s education, training and job experience.  Representatives of the US Company conducted a video interview over the Internet of an individual who identified himself as Vong.  Shortly after that interview, Vong participated in a second remote interview with a different representative of the US Company. In this interview, Vong showed his driver’s license and passport to confirm his identity and citizenship. 

Following those interviews, the company hired Vong and assigned him to work on a government contract.  The contract was part of a national defense program to develop software used by various other government entities that would allow them to coordinate aviation assets effectively.

According to the affidavit, Vong, however, did not perform software development work.  Instead, Vong worked at a nail salon in Bowie, Maryland, while an individual or individuals located in China used Vong’s access credentials to connect to a secure government website, perform the software development work, and attend regular online company meetings.  

“John Doe” communicated regularly with Vong and during those communications Vong and “John Doe” coordinated efforts to ensure that the U.S. Company did not know that an individual or individuals located overseas were actually posing as Vong to perform work on the government software development project.

The John Doe online communications also contained information and statements that indicated that “John Doe” is North Korean and a self-described software developer who lives in Shenyang, China. 

A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  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. 

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the Baltimore FBI Field Office for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen O. Gavin, who is prosecuting the case. 

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit and

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Updated May 16, 2024

National Security