A man accused of defrauding victims of over $3 million through his Garden Grove businesses was arrested today (Thursday) by local police and officers from Las Vegas.
According to Lt. Carl Whitney of the GGPD, Lo Van Tran, 42, of Fremont, California has been arrested for affinity fraud and for engaging in an illegal Ponzi scheme. He’s charged with 27 counts of violations of the state corporation code in which he allegedly used an untrue statement in the purchase or sale of a security. He’s also facing a charge of scheming to defraud, which carries with it potential sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and 20 counts of money laundering over $2.5 million.
“Affinity fraud” is a form of investment scam preying on members of an identifiable group, such as minorities and professional groups. A Ponzi scheme is an illegal business that offers investors high short-term return on their investments but in which the money from them is kept for the financial benefit of the scheme operator or to repay earlier investors. It’s similar to a “pyramid scheme.”
Police say that Tran was the owner and operator of SmartBuy Outlet, Inc., which had two storefronts in Garden Grove. The business also operated under the name SavMax Solutions. Tran also claimed to have a partnership with a third-party logistics company known as Zyp Corporation, where the purchase and sales of large numbers of Apple products could be made.
According to police, Tran collected more that $3 million from investors, but it was later discovered that Zyp Corporation didn’t exist. It’s alleged that Tran fabricated bank and business documents to make his business appear to be legitimate.
Between June 2017 and February 2018, Tran allegedly defrauded over 10 investors, most of when were Vietnamese and falsely promised them a pre-determined return on their investment amount.
Garden Grove detectives believe there may be other victims who have yet to come forward, and that it’s possible that Tran conducted similar scams in the Bay Area as well as Las Vegas.
Anyone who feels they have been a victim or have further information on this case is asked to contact Detective Thi Huynh at (714) 741-5835.
Categories: Garden Grove