A former postal worker made his first appearance in a Santa Ana courtroom Tuesday on federal charges of stealing more than 6,200 credit cards in the mail, leading to about $3.1 million in losses to the victims.
Chinh Vuong officially entered a not guilty plea, but has already struck a plea deal with prosecutors that was filed June 30, court documents show.
Vuong started working in the Santa Ana post office in 1989. Between October 2014 and October of last year, he stole at least 6,240 credit cards in the mail, according to his plea agreement. The loss to victims was at least $3.1 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Defendant made at least $6,000 per month selling stolen credit cards,” according to the plea agreement. “Defendant used the funds from the sale of stolen credit cards to pay for personal expenses, including designer handbags and boots for his wife, two BMWs, alcohol and drugs.”
Vuong “stole an average of 40 credit cards three to five nights per week,” according to the plea agreement, which says he “would sell 11 stolen credit cards for $500 or 132 stolen credit cards for $5,000.”
The scheme unraveled when he tried to make a deal with an undercover agent in Garden Grove, according to court documents.
When investigators searched his Garden Grove residence last October, they allegedly found nearly 200 stolen credit cards and expensive goods such as 20 handbags by such high-end labels as Prada, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
–City News Service