U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania
(717) 221-4482
October 24, 2014

California Man Charged in Identity Fraud Scheme

The United States Attorney’s Office announced the return of an indictment yesterday by a federal grand jury in Williamsport charging Phil Nguyen of Garden Grove, California, with aggravated identity theft, and related offenses, in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain luxury wrist watches from jewelry stores in State College, Pennsylvania, and in New York, New Jersey, and Nevada.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the indictment alleges that from January 2014 through July 20, 2014, Nguyen used counterfeit California driver’s licenses in the names of other persons to purchase and attempt to purchase Rolex and Omega watches from Kranich’s Jewelers in State College and four other jewelry stores in Orchard Park, New York, Marlton and Wayne, New Jersey, and Las Vegas, Nevada. According to the indictment, Nguyen also used counterfeit California driver’s licenses and fraudulent credit cards in submitting on-line credit applications to Wells Fargo, GE Capital Retail Bank, and TD Bank to pay for the watches.

Nguyen, age 67, faces a combined maximum penalty of 67 years in prison, a fine of $2.25 million, and a supervised release term of five years.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Patton Township Police Department and the Centre County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney George J. Rocktashel.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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