Home San Francisco Press Releases 2010 San Francisco Man Sentenced to 52 Months in Prison for Extortion of Chinatown Business Owner

San Francisco Man Sentenced to 52 Months in Prison for Extortion of Chinatown Business Owner

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 22, 2010
  • Northern District of California (415) 436-7200

SAN FRANCISCO—Michael Tsan was sentenced to 52 months' imprisonment; three years' supervised release; $1,200 restitution; and a $100 special assessment for interfering with commerce by threats and violence, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

"As a result of this conviction, and the dedication and commitment of the FBI and San Francisco Police Department, the citizens of Chinatown can rest easier," U.S. Attorney Haag said. "Through his use of threats and intimidation, Mr. Tsan extorted money out of a hardworking, law-abiding citizen; this sentence brings that practice to an end."

On Sept. 1, 2010, Tsan entered a guilty plea and admitted that he extorted a Chinatown business owner through the use of force and fear and attempted to induce the victim to part with property. On March 19, 2010, Tsan demanded protection money from the victim who operated a Mah-Jongg parlor in San Francisco’s Chinatown district. Tsan had been collecting protection money from the victim in prior months but on this occasion the victim refused to pay. The victim reported that when she attempted to call 9-1-1, Tsan grabbed the telephone from her hand, struck her, and then threatened her life. As part of the plea, Tsan agreed to the sentencing enhancements for the threat of death and bodily injury, and for obstruction of justice.

As part of his plea, Tsan also admitted that while he was in custody following his arrest, he obstructed justice by calling an acquaintance from jail and encouraging him to make false statements to officers of the court. In an attempt to obtain his release pending trial, Tsan encouraged the acquaintance to falsely represent that he employed Tsan at his business.

Tsan, 40, of San Francisco, was charged by a criminal Information on Aug. 27, 2010. He was charged with and pled guilty to one count of interference with commerce by threats or violence in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a).

Tsan has been in custody since his arrest by the San Francisco Police Department’s Gang Task Force on April 6, 2010. He was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer in San Francisco.

"Dedicated work by the San Francisco Police Department Gang Task Force and the FBI resulted in Tsan’s sentence today," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephanie Douglas. "Extortion is a deplorable and rarely-reported crime. Although this sentence is a victory, we continue to ask for the community’s assistance in identifying and prosecuting those engaged in this type of activity."

William Frentzen and Derek Owens of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime Strike Force are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case with the assistance of Marina Ponomarchuk. The prosecution is the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s San Francisco Organized Crime Squad and the San Francisco Police Department’s Gang Task Force.

Further Information:

Case #: 10-0634 CRB

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

Judges' calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Jack Gillund at (415) 436-6599 or by email at Jack.Gillund@usdoj.gov.

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