SANTA ANA, California – A Garden Grove man who worked for the United States Postal Service for more than two decades was sentenced today to 75 months in federal prison for stealing thousands of credit cards from the U.S. Mail and selling the credit cards on the black market.
Chinh Vuong, 49, was sentenced by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who also ordered the defendant to pay $325,085 in restitution to Chase Bank USA and American Express.
Vuong pleaded guilty in August 2016 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Vuong told federal investigators that he made at least $6,000 per month selling stolen credit cards and “used the funds from the sale of stolen credit cards to pay for personal expenses, including designer handbags and boots, two BMW automobiles, alcohol and drugs,” according to court documents.
Prior to being confronted with evidence of the thefts, Vuong had worked at the United States Postal Service Santa Ana Processing and Distribution Center as a mail processing clerk for about 25 years. On October 6, 2015, federal authorities searched Vuong’s residence and seized approximately 199 stolen credit cards and luxury items, such as more than 20 handbags from designers that included Prada, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
“On the day of the warrant, [Vuong] described to federal agents how he executed the bank fraud conspiracy and identity theft scheme,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed with the court. “While at work, [Vuong] would identify envelopes that contained American Express and Chase credit cards but had been marked ‘undeliverable.’ Rather than let those envelopes be returned to the respective bank, [Vuong] stuffed the envelopes with new credit cards inside into his waistband. Then, he made trips to his car while on break to hide the stolen credit cards.”
Vuong admitted to investigators that in the year prior to the search, he had stolen an average of 40 credit card envelopes, three to five nights per week, which means he stole at least 6,240 credit cards over a one-year period.
The investigation into Vuong was conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Identity Theft & Economic Crimes Task Force; the United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Westminster Police Department provided assistance during the investigation.
The case against Vuong was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vibhav Mittal of the Santa Ana Branch Office.