Stephen Gibbons, Assistant District Attorney

Jim Shore, Deputy District Attorney
Public Assistance Fraud Unit
(408) 792-2738   For release on April 22, 2004     PAIR CHARGED IN $176,000 PUBLIC ASSISTANCE SCAM   The Santa Clara County District Attorney announced today that 40 year old Nhung Thi Nguyen and her longtime live-in boyfriend, 43 year old Lay Thanh Tran, both of San Jose, were charged in connection with a welfare, child care and housing assistance scam that netted the pair more than $176,000 over 13 years.   From 1989 to 2002 Nhung Thi Nguyen received aid in the form of cash, food stamps, childcare and subsidized housing based on her statements that the father of her children was not living with her and the children.  An investigation by the District Attorney’s Public Assistance Fraud Division revealed that Nguyen lied about who the children’s father was and conspired with him to conceal his true identity.  During the period that Nguyen received aid Lay Thanh Tran, the biological father, actually resided with Nguyen and her two children while she collected more than $100,000 in welfare and child care payments.  Since 1998 Lay Thanh Tran has been the owner of the residence where the family lived and he collected subsidized rent payments from the Santa Clara County Housing Authority totaling more than $75,000. The fraud was discovered wh en a District Attorney investigator assigned to then the Family Support Division noticed that Nguyen provided the names of two different fathers for her children on different occasions.  A follow up investigation and a blood test confirmed Mr. Tran’s paternity of Nguyen’s children.  Both defendants have been charged with one count of Welfare Fraud (with an excessive taking allegation) and two counts of Grand Theft (one with the excessive taking allegation).  Nguyen is also charged with an additional count of Perjury in connection with the fraud.  If convicted, Nguyen could receive up to six years and eight months in state prison and Tran could receive five years and eight months in state prison.   People who engage in welfare fraud divert money that should properly be spent assisting those who are truly in need. Anyone with information concerning welfare fraud can contact the Welfare Fraud Tip line at (408) 635-1777.   ###

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