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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 9, 2016

Craigslist Robber Who Impersonated Law Enforcement Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison

OAKLAND, Calif. – Tuan Ngoc Luong was sentenced today to 12 years in prison following his conviction for Hobbs Act robbery and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Bertram Fairries. 

A federal jury convicted Luong, 38, of Castro Valley, Calif., on January 28, 2016, for setting up and committing an armed robbery using Craigslist as the bait to lure his robbery victim.  When Luong was convicted of the charges, he already had been convicted in September 2015 of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Evidence at his trials showed that Luong posted an advertisement on Craigslist in February 2015 purportedly to sell his car.  An unsuspecting potential buyer found the advertisement online and contacted Luong.  The two agreed to meet at the Castro Valley BART station where Luong represented to the buyer that he was a sheriff’s deputy.  At Luong’s urging, the victim took the car for a test drive with Luong in the car.  During the test drive, Luong claimed he needed to stop at home to get the title to the car and instructed the victim to stop in a secluded residential neighborhood.  After they stopped and got out of the car, Luong pulled out a black semi-automatic handgun, pointed it at the victim, and demanded money.  Ultimately, Luong robbed the victim of a cellular phone, credit card, and a number of personal items before fleeing in the car.  Luong was captured two days later as part of an undercover sting operation after an Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy posed as an interested buyer in response to the same Craigslist advertisement.  When Luong arrived to meet the prospective “buyer,” he was arrested with a black semi-automatic pistol clipped to his belt on the small of his back.

On March 26, 2015, a federal grand jury charged Luong in a three-count indictment with Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a); brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii); and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g).   

The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam, U.S. District Judge.  Judge Gilliam also sentenced Luong to a three year period of supervised release and ordered Luong to pay full restitution to his victim.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Lewis and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelsey Linnett are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Janice Pagsanjan, Jeanne Carstensen, Melissa Dorton, Patty Lau, Noble Hughes, Trina Khadoo, and Katie Turner.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

Updated May 10, 2016