Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON FOR STEALING OVER $650,000 FROM WIDOW FOR FAKE INVESTMENTS TO SPEND ON PERSONAL EXPENSES
*Victim’s request for full restitution was taken into consideration informing the negotiated plea
SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced yesterday to three years in state prison for stealing over $650,000 from a widow by lying about being a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and spending her investments on personal expenses. Hoang Quoc Tathanhlong, 50, Westminster, pleaded guilty June 14, 2011, to one felony count of grand theft and two felony counts of using an untrue statement in the purchase or sale of a security with a sentencing enhancement for property loss over $200,000. In addition to three years in state prison, he was ordered to pay the remaining restitution of $463,000.
In November 2007, Tathanhlong met the victim, 41-year-old Tanya H., a recently widowed mother of five, while working as a funeral planning representative at a Buddhist temple in Westminster. The victim was making funeral arrangements for a friend. The defendant falsely told Tanya H. that he was a CFP employed by TD Ameritrade and gave the victim his fake business card.
Shortly after meeting, Tathanhlong told Tanya H. to transfer $240,000 to an account in the defendant’s name to invest in a low-risk Certificate of Deposit (CD), which would accrue interest over a 3-year period. On Nov. 23, 2007, the victim transferred the money, which were the proceeds from her husband’s life insurance policy.
In April 2008, Tathanhlong falsely represented himself to Tanya H. as a Chief Investment Officer of TD Ameritrade and told her to invest another $500,000 with his company. He directed the victim to take equity from her home to obtain the investment funds. On April 14, 2008, Tathanhlong instructed Tanya H. to wire the $390,000 she took out in equity to an account in his name and his wife. Tathanhlong offered the victim a fictitious $100,000 loan to cover the difference for the $500,000 investment. In August 2008, the defendant received two cash payments totaling $40,000 from the victim as reimbursement for the fake loan.
Tathanhlong spent Tanya H.’s $240,000 safe CD investment in day trading and the victim’s $390,000 investment on personal expenses including a Mercedes Benz.
In late August 2008, the defendant suggested that Tanya H. sell property she owned in northern California and invest the funds through him. The victim consulted her sister about the potential investment, who became suspicious and accompanied Tanya H. to the Irvine Police Department (IPD) to file a report. IPD investigated the case.
Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn of the Major Fraud Unit prosecuted this case.