LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the recovery Monday of about $100,000 in restitution for the victims of an investment scam targeting Michigan's Vietnamese community.
Hiep The Trinh pleaded no contest to racketeering, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine, and pleaded no contest to two counts of false pretenses over $20,000, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Schuette's Corporate Oversight Division secured approximately $100,000 in restitution for Trinh's victims.
"These funds will help the Michigan victims of this elaborate phony stock scheme begin to rebuild their lives," Schuette said. "If an investment sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Consumers should always exercise caution investing their hard-earned money."
Between November 2005 and October 2008, Trinh allegedly perpetrated a complex investment scam by convincing members of the Vietnamese community to get in on the ground floor of an oil additive manufacturing company called NRG before it went public. The company never went public and was actually a marketing product purchased from another supplier. Trinh allegedly perpetrated a similar scam in 2008 related to an oil field in Kazakhstan.
Trinh allegedly pocketed the money he collected and used it for personal expenses like luxury cars, expensive jewelry and a multimillion dollar home. Trinh allegedly defrauded approximately $867,000 from his victims.
Trinh was arrested on June 12, 2012, and will be sentenced Jan. 10.