Man pleads guilty to impersonating DEA agent to avoid credit check


A man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court San Jose to using a counterfeit federal seal, pretending to be a federal agent and securities fraud to prevent a landlord from checking his credit, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Jonathon Hoang, 48, of San Jose, entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in San Jose to charges in a four-count indictment issued by a federal grand jury on July 25, federal prosecutors reported.

He was charged with using a counterfeit federal seal, pretending to be a U.S. officer, possessing a counterfeit seal of a U.S. agency and securities fraud, prosecutors reported
San Jose police arrested Hoang on July 20, after recovering law enforcement equipment in his truck, including a counterfeit U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency identification card, according to prosecutors.

The card claimed that Hoang, named as “Vu H. Hoang” on it, was a special agent for the DEA when he had never been employed by the federal agency, according to prosecutors.

Following an investigation, the DEA learned that Hoang attempted to convince his landlord, at Stoneyford Court in San Jose, that he was a DEA agent in order not to be subjected to a credit check, according to prosecutors.

Hoang sent his landlord a letter, dated Nov. 15, 2011, claiming to verify that Hoang worked for the DEA in San Francisco in the “Cyber Traffic Division,” and to which Hoang affixed a faked DEA seal, prosecutors reported.

Included with the letter was a purported memorandum, dated Oct. 14, 2011, also with a counterfeited DEA seal, stating that Hoang had successfully completed background, credit and drug tests.

Prosecutors claimed that Hoang then used the phony letter and memorandum to rent a home at Stoneyford Court and to prevent his landlord from running a credit check on him.
The landlord as a result did not run the credit check, according to prosecutors.

Then in November 2012, Hoang sold an investor $2,500 in stock the defendant claimed to have owned in the company Utherverse Digital that operated a website known as Redlight Center, where customers interacted with others in a virtual environment, according to prosecutors.

Hoang told the investor that the company was about to be acquired and that the stock would dramatically increase in value, but Hoang did not own the stock and Utherverse Digital was not negotiating to be sold, according to prosecutors.

The FBI later found the investor’s check used to purchase the stock, and the agreement Hoang had the investor sign, inside Hoang’s car on Nov. 9, 2012, prosecutors said.

Hoang’s sentencing hearing in federal court is set for Dec. 10. He could face a sentence of up to 33 years in federal prison, prosecutors said.
(Copyright 2013 Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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