​For release on June 22, 2012

Michel Amaral, Deputy District Attorney
Burglary, Assault, Theft Team
(408) 808-3782                            
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR EXTORTING MEMBERS OF THE VIETNAMESE COMMUNITY   A 37-year-old San Jose man faces a trial on charges that he extorted protection money from two prominent members of the Vietnamese community.    The Honorable Ron Del Pozzo of the Santa Clara Superior Court Thursday held Ophus Huynh “Phu” Le to answer on two counts of felony extortion. If convicted, he faces seven years in state prison. Le remains in custody on $50,000 bail.   “Mr. Le targeted high-profile members of the community and used scare tactics to steal their money.  His scheme was particularly effective because Mr. Le initially pretended to be someone who could protect them,’’ said Michel Amaral, who is prosecuting the case. “But the victims soon realized that it was Mr. Le who posed the greatest danger to them."    Between June 2010 and March 2012, Le extorted thousands of dollars from a local real estate agent and a financial advisor.   Le got thousands of dollars in cash from these men under the guise that he would protect them from unidentified people in the community who wanted to harm them.  If they refused to pay him, however, Le would not guarantee their safety.  Le told one of them that they could possibly get “two bullets in the head.” He further explained that they would be killed if they went to the police.   Le’s trial date will be set in Department 24 at the Hall of Justice on July 2, 2012.    The defendant also faces a narcotics-for-sale charge filed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.   Anyone who has been victimized by Le is encouraged to contact Detective Kiet Nguyen of the Santa Clara Police Department at (408) 615-4800.

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