SAN FRANCISCO– Bitty Yu was sentenced to 24 months in prison for wire fraud, announced United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. The sentence was handed down today by the Honorable Richard Seeborg, United States District Judge.
Yu, 69, of Pacifica, Calif., pleaded guilty to the wire fraud charge on March 20, 2018. According to her plea agreement, from about January 2013 through April 2017, Yu, along with others, engaged in a scheme to defraud an elderly married couple living in San Mateo of millions of dollars. Specifically, in 2013, Yu convinced the couple that she and others were involved in a real estate project and that the couple’s funds would be used to purchase10 acres of land in London, England, for the project. Yu and others claimed a deal was being brokered that would result in a $195 million return in commissions when the project was completed. Yu acknowledged that she and others made false statements to the couple on various occasions, ultimately lulling the couple into wiring funds on multiple occasions.
In total, the couple invested more than $4,000,000 in the bogus real estate project. Yu received over $1,000,000 for her role in the scheme. Yu admitted that she used the money she received from the couple for personal expenses including mortgage payments, personal credit account payments, automobile purchases, and federal and state income tax payments.
Yu was charged by information on January 31, 2018, with a single count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. Pursuant to her plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to the charge.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Seeborg also sentenced the defendant to a three-year period of supervised release and ordered her to pay $1,000,000 in restitution. Yu will begin serving her sentence on October 9, 2018.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Chinhayi Cadet is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Bridget Kilkenny. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.