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California Man Pleads Guilty to Ripping Off Kranich's in Multi-State Crime Spree

by on April 20, 2015 1:57 PM

A California man has pleaded guilty to defrauding a jewelry store in State College as part of a crime spree across several states.

Phil Nguyen, of Garden Grove, California, entered his guilty plea with the United State District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania last Friday. He had originally pleaded not guilty, but later changed his mind as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

According to court documents, Nguyen has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine. In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors are expected to drop charges of identification documentation fraud, access device fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property and aggravated identity theft.

Prosecutors say Nguyen used fake identification and fraudulent credits cards to rip off jewelry stores in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Las Vegas. Nguyen's crime spree allegedly took place between January and July 2014, totaling over $74,000 worth of stolen property.

Of that total amount, Nguyen reportedly used his fake credit cards to purchase a Rolex watch worth about $13,000 from Kranich's Jewelers in State College.

According to court documents, Nguyen used fake California driver's licenses to apply for credit cards and loans in other people's names. In addition to five different jewelers, Nguyen also reportedly ripped off three different banks as part of his crime spree. Prosecutors say the total damage caused by Nguyen (including each jewelry store and bank) totals more than $114,000.

As part of his plea agreement, Nguyen has agreed to pay nearly $87,000 of restitution to his victims.

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