For release on August 28, 2014   CONTACT:
Kimberly Connors, Deputy District Attorney
Real Estate Fraud Unit
(408) 792-2833   SOUTH BAY REALTOR AND NOTARY CHARGED IN FRAUDULENT INVESTMENT SCHEME   A South Bay Area real estate broker and a notary public have been charged with a scheme that involved enticing mostly Vietnamese-American victims into investing in foreign gold, a bail bond business, or some other “secret” investment, by promising them abnormally high returns on their investments. An investigation has not uncovered any evidence that these businesses ever existed.   The loss to the 18 documented victims is approximately $8 million.
Lananh Thi Phan, a licensed real estate agent associated with Realty World-Quality Homes, Inc. in San Jose, and Diane H. Do Bui, a commissioned notary public, are charged with multiple felonies. Both were arrested yesterday. Phan, 54, is being held in lieu of $10 million bail.  Bui, 49, is being held in lieu of $5 million bail.  If convicted, they face up to 24 years in prison.   “We are looking for more victims in this case,’’ prosecutor Kimberly Connors said. “Unfortunately, these defendants lured their victims with promises of incredible profits and a secure financial future. Instead, they lost what security they had.” The prosecutor said that she would seek restitution for the victims.   A year-long District Attorney’s Office investigation found the “Ponzi” scheme was operating for the past 5 years. Most of the victims were told that they had to invest a minimum of $25,000, and they would receive returns of $1,500 per month. At first, victims would receive monthly returns. Now confident in their investments, victims would then put in more of their savings.  Usually, the victims were persuaded to roll their monthly returns directly back into the business, and the suspects were able to stop giving any money to the victims. Victims told investigators that Phan bragged to them about her success and showed them her collection of high-end Louis Vuitton purses.   The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office asks anyone who thinks they may have been a victim in this case to call the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit at (408) 792-2879.   Lananh Phan Booking Photo.jpg Lananh Phan     Diane Do Bui.jpg Diane Do Bui     ###

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