​For release on February 12, 2016

Victor Chen, Deputy District Attorney
Major Fraud Unit
(408) 792-2665 SERIAL SCAMMER WHO USED SYMPATHY AGAINST VIETNAMESE COMMUNUITY CONVICTED   A San Jose woman was convicted this week by a jury of defrauding more than $200,000 from people who thought she was down on her luck and in dire need of a room to rent.   Loan Nguyen, 50, would pay for the room with seemingly generous checks but then ask to quickly “withdraw” the excess cash. She claimed, in some cases, that she was on the run from an abusive husband or something terrible had recently happened to her brother.   Her tales of woe were fake and the checks were, in many cases, stolen from previous scam victims. They bounced, leaving landlords with bad credit and overdrawn accounts.
After this week’s trial, Nguyen was found guilty of 21 felonies. They included six counts of first degree burglary with hot prowl allegations, seven counts of grand theft by trick with allegations, two counts of dissuading a witness, and six counts of passing a bad check with allegations. Nguyen has a Strike Prior (first degree burglary in 2014.)  At her sentencing in front of the Hon. Joanne McCracken, Nguyen could face more than 40 years in prison.   “The defendant targeted the Vietnamese community, portraying herself as someone who had overcome the same obstacles as they had to start a new life in this country,” prosecutor Victor Chen said. “This wasn’t her first time targeting this community. Hopefully it will be her last.”   Soon after she had been released from jail in October 2014 for a similar scam, Nguyen answered a series of classified ads of rooms for rent in a local Vietnamese-language newspaper. Within a five month period, she had scammed more than $100,000.   In one case, one of her victims – who had a pristine credit score – was left bankrupt and her credit badly damaged.   ###  

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