That Tien Truong Nguyen, age 34, was sentenced today for his role in designing websites to mock financial institutions and using those sites to scam over 38,000 victims. He worked with Romanian scammers to help drive people to the sites through email phishing. Nguyen sold the data containing the identities stolen from the fake sites to Ryan Price and Stefani Ruland. These two men setup lines of credit at GE Capital kiosks at Walmart in Northern California, typically between $1,000 to $2,000 per victim. These lines of credit were used to purchase goods at the store and resell the purchases. Nguyen, Price and Ruland were estimated to have fraudulently obtained just under $200,o00 in goods from Walmart.
When Nguyen was arrested by police in 2007, they found web templates to build fake versions of sites like eBay, Paypal and local banks such as Washington’s Heritage Bank. He was also in possession of bank and credit card numbers from 38,500 victims, a Remington 870 Magnum Express shotgun with a supply of nearby ammunition as well as a collection of prepaid gift cards, fraudulent credit cards and a counterfeit California driver’s license. Nguyen wasn’t allowed to have a firearm due to previous convictions from three felonies that included writing fraudulent checks
After caught, Nguyen told police that phishing was simple to do and that methamphetamines helped him continue his drive to steal identities. He was charged with conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, possession of a firearm and access-device fraud. During sentencing, lawyers for Nguyen attempted to argue that he had cleaned up his life and stopped using meth. However, U.S. District Judge Morrison England, Jr. did not offer much liency to Nguyen and sentenced him to over 150 months of prison time. It’s also possible that Nguyen will be ordered to pay restitution to a portion of the victims.