Nearly a Dozen Arrested for $2 Million Scam

April 21, 2008

Eleven alleged Bay Area fraud perpetrators were arrested on numerous felony counts including insurance fraud, identity theft, possession of stolen property and filing a false tax return. Wireless phone dealers, employees and customers were arrested for their purported involvement in a $2 million insurance scam, the California Department of Insurance said.

The CDI Fraud Division launched investigations into several Bay Area cellular telephone stores in 2005 after insurance administrator Asurion Corp. reported suspected fraudulent claims. CDI said its investigation revealed that Nikki Tang and Bao Vu Ha, the owners of Streetel One were engaging in dealer fraud. The investigation revealed that store employee Xuan Tran and former store employee Natalie Huynh also allegedly engaged in multiple counts of insurance fraud. Streetel One customers Douglas Duong and Khang Truong were also arrested for their alleged involvement in insurance fraud. All are from San Jose, Calif.

Asurion Corp. administers wireless insurance protection plans that provide coverage for lost, stolen or damaged wireless phones. The administrator provides a replacement phone when an insurance claim is filed and approved.

Dealer fraud occurs when a customer purchases a policy on a wireless phone to cover against loss, theft or damage. After selling a phone, a store employee or owner will file a claim with the insurer for a lost or stolen phone. After the insurer sends a replacement phone, the dealer sells or gives away the replacement phone free to a new customer. CDI said this scheme is often repeated on new wireless phone accounts, without the original customer’s knowledge.

CDI’s said its investigation uncovered approximately $2 million worth of replacement wireless phones that were shipped out by Asurion as a result of this fraud scheme. The Department also said the investigation revealed that Trina Nguyen, former owner of EZ Wireless was allegedly involved in dealer fraud. Former employees of EZ Wireless, Gigi Nguyen and Jordan Pham were arrested for their alleged involvement.

It was further discovered through the investigation that Travis Tiet, his brother Vincent Tiet, and sisters Muoi Tiet and Khanh Tiet, all of Oakland, were allegedly involved in multiple counts of insurance fraud and possession of stolen property. The Tiets owned and operated the now closed Voicetel Wireless and V-Wireless stores in San Jose, in addition to the Globotel cellular store, currently known as V-Wireless in Oakland. Three of the siblings were arrested. Khanh Tiet is outstanding.

Topics Fraud

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Insurance Journal West April 21, 2008
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