San Jose police foil elaborate identity theft ring

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SAN JOSE (BCN)

San Jose police Wednesday announced the arrest of three suspects in what aiding U.S. Secret Service officers dubbed as the most extensive and inclusive identity theft operations in the San Jose area in years.

(AP)

San Jose residents Toan Nguyen, 35, Mai Huang, 33, and Kent Do, 27, were all arrested at a home in the 300 block of Elan Village, a residence that police say was turned into a sophisticated identity theft operation that included equipment and supplies to create fraudulent driver’s licenses, credit cards, counterfeit money and imitation checks.

All three suspects are being held on $5 million bail in the Santa Clara County Jail and face various charges related to identity theft, grand theft, fraud and counterfeiting.

Police are still searching for two outstanding persons of interest in the case. Thach Duong, 39, and Tri Nguyen, 44, are being sought for questioning, according to police.

A search warrant on the home was issued after a yearlong investigation led by the Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit Detective Brian Pettis, according to police.

The investigation was prompted an elder fraud case in which an 85-year-old San Jose man was bilked of nearly $100,000 when his personal checkbook was stolen from his home during a burglary. Police allege that one of the suspects used the checkbook and began a scheme using other victims’ identities to drain the man’s bank accounts.

On May 1, the department’s Mobile Emergency Response Group and Equipment, or MERGE unit, served the search warrant at the Elan Village home and allegedly caught two of the three suspects in the act of committing online identity theft.

Police said that further search resulted in the seizure of uncovered weapons, narcotics and the identity theft equipment that police report was capable of stealing the life savings of hundreds of victims and defrauding financial institutions as well. The additional victims’ information appeared to have been acquired by burglary, mail or other means, police said.

“Detective Pettis’ investigation not only solved a burglary, where an 85-year-old was victimized, but it also potentially prevented other burglaries and hundreds of identity thefts,” Deputy Chief Phan Ngo said. “I am so proud of not only their exceptional work but also of their commitment to service to our residents.”

Police are still attempting to contact the two persons of interest in the case. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the two outstanding persons are asked to contact Detective Brian Pettis at (408) 277-4521 or the Silicon Valley Crimestoppers at (408) 947-7867.

(Copyright 2013 Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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