Four Defendants Indicted for Securities Fraud, Conducting International Pump-and-Dump Scheme, and Money Laundering
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – November 20, 2020
SAN DIEGO – Jonny Ngo, the former president and chief executive officer of NL Technology, LLC, was sentenced in federal court today to 75 months in prison for operating a $65 million Ponzi scheme that caused investors to lose over $20 million. He was also ordered to pay $20,292,490.60 in restitution to the victims of his fraud.
According to court filings, Ngo induced his victims to invest funds in various short-term investment contracts by making false representations, including that: (a) Investor money would be used to fund wholesale purchase orders of smartphone screens and other electronic goods; (b) NL Technology was a regular supplier of smartphone screens to a number of buyers, including two buyers who each ordered approximately $2 million of product from NL Technology; (c) All wholesale orders funded by investor money was pre-purchased by NL Technology clients; and (d) The quality of the products and safety of investor funds used to purchase the products were guaranteed by a third-party escrow company.
In his plea agreement, Ngo admitted he created counterfeit invoices falsely indicating that NL Technology had substantial purchase orders from alleged wholesale companies. Ngo also provided false financial statements purportedly certified by an accountant showing NL Technology earned income from its wholesale business totaling $12.5 million in 2015 and $15.4 million in 2016. Moreover, Ngo admitted he fabricated bank statements or screenshots from bank statements held in the name of NL Technology with individual line items altered to appear as legitimate wholesale business transactions. Lastly, Ngo created false checks from wholesale companies allegedly doing business with NL Technology.
According to court documents, Ngo told investors that they could roll over their investments into future investment contracts with NL Technology, when in fact no such future investments were possible. Also, Ngo lulled investors about the continued viability of NL Technology through materially false representations, including that NL Technology had an outstanding purchase order from a smartphone repair company for approximately $300,000, when in fact, no such order existed.
Instead of investing the funds in the business, Ngo admitted that he converted investor funds to his own personal use and benefit by spending the money on a home, luxury cars and gambling. As a result of his investment fraud, Ngo caused more than $20 million in losses to investors in his Ponzi scheme.
During today’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller said that Ngo was “motivated by greed” to perpetrate a fraud that “was no mere mistake. This was calculated, broad in nature, deep in planning, and deadly in execution.” Judge Miller further noted that the victims “suffered a substantial loss and have had financial ruin, dreams dashed, fruits of a lifetime of labor dissipated, emotional distress, shame, shock, embarrassment, and emotional damage to last a lifetime.”
“Defendant Ngo preyed on his victims, cheated many of them out of their life savings, and caused a devastating impact on their personal and financial health,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “Defendant Ngo destroyed the finances of many innocent and hardworking people. Today’s sentence sends a clear message to financial predators: The United States Attorney’s Office and our federal law enforcement partners will work tirelessly and relentlessly to unravel your fraud and bring you to justice.” Brewer praised prosecutor Joseph Orabona and agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Postal Inspection Service for their outstanding work on this case.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner said, “Ngo swindled and conned innocent investors out of their hard-earned money to support his lavish lifestyle. The false representations about wholesale purchase orders worth millions and supporting phony business records were all lies. Ngo's actions serve as an example of the unconscionable greed that fuels these all too common fraud cases. The FBI is committed to investigating those who prey upon trusting individuals for their own personal gain. We ask anyone who has information related to investor fraud submit a tip at https://tips.fbi.gov/.”
“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to scammers who prey upon the public,” stated Postal Inspector in Charge Melisa Llosa. “The Postal Inspection Service has zero tolerance for those who use the nation’s mail system to commit fraud. Postal Inspectors will aggressively investigate these cases with our law enforcement partners to bring the scammers to justice.”
DEFENDANT Case Number: 19CR1391-JM
Jonny Ngo Age: 34 San Diego, CA
SUMMARY OF THE CHARGE
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 – Mail Fraud
Maximum Penalties: Twenty years in prison, $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release
Federal Bureau of Investigation
United States Postal Inspection Service
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Orabona (619) 546-7951