A 42-year-old man from Lynnwood has been sentenced to three years and two months of prison, followed by three years of supervised release for operating a fraud scheme targeting the Vietnamese community.
Hai Van Nguyen was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shea in Hartford, Connecticut, a state where many of the victims lived.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Nguyen used Facebook to advertise an avenue for legal sponsorship for people looking to come to the United Stated from Vietnam. A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice states that when contacted, Nguyen guaranteed that he could obtain legal entry to the U.S. for his clients and their families. The advertisement guaranteed a green cart upon arrival and U.S. citizenship within five years.
Nguyen also convinced two Connecticut residents to help him recruit clients. The residents collected deposits toward the $35,000 fee as advertised for more than 50 contracts involving clients in Connecticut, South Carolina, Maine and Arizona. Other victims live in Ohio and Texas.
“In total, Nguyen defrauded members of the Vietnamese community seeking legal entry for family members into the U.S. of approximately $550,000,” the press release from the U.S. Department of Justice states.
Judge Shea ordered him to pay $492,025 in restitution.
Nguyen has been detained since May 5, 2016, when he was arrested. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on April 20, 2017.
An arrest warrant is pending for Nguyen in Ohio, where he has been charged with similar conduct.
This matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacabed Rodriguez-Coss.