Stephen Gibbons, Assistant District Attorney
Joseph P. Reader, Deputy District Attorney
Real Estate Fraud Unit
For release on June 27, 2005
CONVICTIONS IN IDENTITY THEFT/ REAL ESTATE FRAUD SCAM AND ARRANGING BEATING OF VICTIM TO DISSUADE COOPERATION WITH POLICE
John Shaw (also known as John Hsia), 46, and his wife, Mary M. Wu (also known as Hsiu Mei Wu), 30, were convicted of multiple felonies by a jury today after a three-and-one-half week trial.
John Shaw was convicted of fourteen felony counts of forgery, grand theft, identity theft, recording false documents, conspiracy, intimidating a witness, and perjury, as well as taking or destroying in excess of a million dollars in property as a result of his crimes. Mary Wu was convicted of one count of identity theft.
The charges resulted from Shaw assuming the identities of others, principally real estate clients of his, and acquiring real estate in the names of the victims without their knowledge. Shaw would then purportedly "sell" the properties to other identities he controlled, taking the profit for himself. Wu assisted Shaw in several of the acquisitions and sales and at one point assumed the identity of victim Phuong Thi Vo, a woman who neither of the defendants had met. Ms. Vo’s passport had been wrongfully taken from the U.S. mails and utilized by Wu. Shaw was also convicted of having an associate, Cheng Guo, assault a witness to prevent his cooperation with law enforcement.
Sentencing is set for July 22, 2005, at 9 a.m. in Department 26 of the Superior Court before Judge Paul R. Bernal. Defendant John Shaw faces up to 25 years in prison. Defendant Hsiu Mei Wu faces 3 years in prison.
The District Attorney’s Office continues to suspect there may be other unidentified victims of Hsia’s and Wu’s criminal conduct. Anyone who has information about any frauds perpetrated by Shaw or Wu or has information as to the whereabouts of Mr. Cheng Guo is asked to contact District Attorney Investigator Robert Traskowski at (408) 792-2938 or Deputy District Attorney Joseph P. Reader at (408) 792-2689.