Thirty-four-year-old Tien Truong Nguyen is finding out the hard way that you shouldn't do the crime if you can't do the time. U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. ruled that Nguyen was in fact guilty of scamming more than 38,000 victims by designing copycat banking websites intended to dupe users into inputting their personal information, and ordered him to serve 12 years in prison.
According to DigitalTrends, Nguyen worked with Romanian scammers in a concerted effort to route victims through fraudulent websites through email phishing. He then sold the stolen data to Ryan Price and Stefani Ruland, two men who used the information to open lines of credit at GE Capital kiosks at Walmart in northern California. Credit lines usually ranged from $1,000 to $2,000 per individual. Overall, the scam resulted in about $200,000 of illegally obtained items from Walmart.
When police arrested Nguyen back in 2007, they found a whole bunch of incriminating evidence, including Web templates to build fake versions of banking sites, bank and credit card numbers from 38,500 victims, fraudulent credit cards, and a counterfeit driver's license, DigitalTrends says. Nguyen was also reportedly in possession of a Remington 870 Magnum Express shotgun and nearby ammunition, which violated a previous order resulting from convictions on three felonies, one of which included writing fraudulent checks.
Nguyen's lawyer unsuccessfully tried to blame his client's behavior on his methamphetamine addiction, for which he supposedly no longer suffers from. He was charged with conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, possession of a firearm, and access-device fraud.