Alameda Resident Pleads Guilty To Four Counts Of Wire Fraud, Admits Operating A Ponzi Scheme To Dupe Victims Out Of Millions Of Dollars
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Defendant Agrees to Pay at Least $1 Million in Restitution to Victims as Part of His Guilty Plea
SAN FRANCISCO - Long Nguyen, a resident of Alameda, California, has pleaded guilty to charges related to his scheme to defraud at least 20 individuals out of approximately $2 million, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. Nguyen’s guilty plea was accepted by the Hon. Trina L. Thompson, United States District Judge.
In his plea agreement, Nguyen, 35, admitted that, between September 2015 and July 2021, he operated a scheme to defraud his victims by making false statements about himself, his investment opportunities, how he would invest his victims’ money, and what he in fact did with their money.
For example, pursuant to the plea agreement, Nguyen admitted making the following false statements, among others, to induce victims to give him money: that (i) he was a billionaire; (ii) other people who invested with him had received large payouts at a high rate of return; (iii) he was starting his own hedge fund; (iv) he had access to pre-IPO investment opportunities that he would and did invest victims’ money into; and (v) he managed a real estate investment trust that he would and did invest victims’ money into and that would provide victims with monthly income. Nguyen also admitted creating fake screenshots that purported to show victims’ growing investment account balances, and falsely telling victims not only that they were making money, but also that he would buy—and, in some cases, had bought—them Teslas and homes.
According to the plea agreement, Nguyen also admitted that he did not, in fact, invest the majority of the money he received from his victims. Rather, Nguyen admitted spending victims’ money for his own personal use and operating a Ponzi scheme by using money he had received from some victims to pay other victims back. And Nguyen admitted he devised and executed his fraudulent scheme with the intent to defraud his victims.
Nguyen was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 18, 2022, on four counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. Pursuant to his plea agreement, Nguyen pleaded guilty to all four counts on October 27, 2023. As part of his guilty plea, Nguyen has agreed to pay at least $1 million in restitution to his victims.
Judge Thompson has scheduled Nguyen’s sentencing for February 2, 2024. Nguyen faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison for each of the wire fraud counts. As part of any sentence, Judge Thompson may also order the defendant to serve an additional term of supervised release, to pay a fine of up to $250,000 per count, and to pay restitution to his victims. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant United States Attorney Kelsey Davidson is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Lance Libatique and Marina Ponomarchuk. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.
Updated October 31, 2023