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Press Release

Alameda Resident Sentenced To Two-And-A-Half Years In Prison And Ordered To Pay Nearly $1.5 Million In Restitution To Victims Of His Ponzi Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Defendant Previously Admitted to Defrauding at Least 20 Victims by Lying to Them to Induce Substantial Investments He Then Used to Enrich Himself

SAN FRANCISCO – Long Nguyen, who pleaded guilty last year to charges relating to a scheme to defraud at least 20 individuals out of millions of dollars, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $1.5 million in restitution and to forfeit $1 million, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. The sentence was imposed by the Hon. Trina L. Thompson, United States District Judge.

Nguyen, 35, a resident of Alameda, California, pleaded guilty in October 2023 to four counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. In his plea agreement, Nguyen 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.

Specifically, 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.

According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, Nguyen perpetuated his fraud by lying to his victims when they asked for their money back, including by falsely telling them that he was being audited, that his accounts had been frozen, and that others, including his lawyer and the bank, were the source of the delay. He also sent fraudulent checks that his victims were unable to cash.

Nguyen was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2022 on four counts of wire fraud, all of which he pleaded guilty to. In addition to sentencing Nguyen to prison, Judge Thompson ordered the defendant to pay $1,494,496.89 in restitution to his victims and to forfeit $1 million. Judge Thompson also ordered Nguyen to serve three years of supervised release to begin after his prison term is completed.

Assistant United States Attorney Kelsey Davidson is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Lance Libatique and Marina Ponomarchuk. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.

Updated March 4, 2024