Stephen Gibbons, Assistant District Attorney CONTACT PERSON:
Dale B. Lohman, Deputy District Attorney
Major Fraud Unit
(408) 792-2599 For Release on October 1, 2003 CHARGES FILED AGAINST WHITE-COLLAR AUTO THEFT RING The Santa Clara County Office of the District Attorney has filed felony charges against three individuals who were allegedly running a massive white-collar fraud in the Bay Area. Bao Truc Nguyen, 40, and his wife Hue Bachthi Nguyen, 41, surrendered to the Court on October 1, 2003 following a lengthy investigation by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Defendant Diem Vu Tran, 46, was arrested on August 24, 2003. Each defendant faces fifty-seven felony counts of grand theft auto (Penal Code section 484-487(d)), one count of grand theft (Penal Code section 484-487(a)) and one count of conspiracy to commit grand theft auto (Penal Code section 182(a)). They also face excessive taking allegations pursuant to Penal Code sections 12022.6(a)(2) and 186.11(a)(2). The defendants owned and operated B&H Auto in San Jose. The complaint alleges that they engaged in a conspiracy in which they used bad checks to fraudulently purchase fifty-seven vehicles from sixteen car dealerships across four Bay Area counties. The defendants’ alleged conduct spans more than two years and involves a loss to victims of approximately $800,000. Between November of 1999 and April of 2002, Bao Truc Nguyen, representing himself to be a vehicle wholesaler and owner of B&H, approached Bay Area dealerships and purchased used cars from them. Bao Nguyen either failed to pay the dealerships for the vehicles or paid using insufficient funds checks drawn on one of B&H’s five bank accounts and signed by Diem Tran or Hue Nguyen. If convicted, each defendant faces up to forty-eight years in state prison. The defendants’ next court date is October 29, 2003.