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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

San Jose Resident Sentenced For Using Identities Of Homeless Individuals To File Fraudulent Tax Returns

San Jose – Trong Nguyen, also known as John Nguyen, was sentenced to 25 months in prison for conspiring to file false claims against the government and submitting false claims to the government, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge Rafael Nuñez, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigations, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf.

According to the indictment, plea agreement, and documents introduced in court, Nguyen worked with codefendant Diep Vo, also known as Nancy Vo, to submit fraudulent tax returns to the government using the identities of homeless individuals and people in San Jose’s Vietnamese community. Vo went to homeless shelters and homeless encampments, where Vo falsely represented to homeless individuals that she could get them money from a government program designed to assist people who had not worked in previous years. In doing so, Vo convinced homeless individuals to write down their names, Social Security numbers, and signatures. Thereafter, Vo and Nguyen used the information and signatures to file false tax returns which claimed fraudulent refunds from the IRS. On the fraudulent tax returns, Vo and Nguyen wrote addresses to private mailboxes they rented, causing the IRS to send the fraudulently obtained tax refund checks to mailboxes Vo and Nguyen controlled. According to the plea agreement, Nguyen and Vo claimed more than $1.5 million in fraudulent refunds from the IRS. 

Nguyen previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to file false claims against the government, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286, and submitting false claims to the government, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287. Vo later pleaded guilty to conspiring to file false claims against the government, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286; submitting false claims to the government, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287; mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341; and aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A. 

Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Newman and Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Justice Department Tax Division are prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service and IRS, Criminal Investigations.
 

Topic(s): 
Tax
Updated September 28, 2017