Shirley Wong, aka Ngoc Li Vuong, 42, San Jose, California, a Silicon Valley engineer technician, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to conspiring to commit mail fraud in connection with the financing and acquisition of two residential properties in Fresno County, California that were later used for the indoor cultivation of large quantities of marijuana.
Wong admitted in her guilty plea that she was assisted in the acquisition of these properties through Monique Le Nguyen, aka Monique Dzung Le, 60, a licensed real estate salesperson. Wong purchased a house in Clovis, California which was used for the indoor cultivation of marijuana. When a fire broke out in the house, Clovis Police Officers discovered an unoccupied residence with about 200 marijuana plants growing inside. Wong purchased another residence in Fresno, California within days of purchasing the Clovis, California property, which was also intended to be used for the indoor cultivation of marijuana. The loan applications for both properties falsely stated that the properties would be owner-occupied, misrepresented Wong’s employment and residence, overstated her income and bank account balances, and were supported by falsified bank records.
Wong’s sentencing is set for March 11, 2010. Wong has been detained since her arrest by DEA agents at the beginning of the year. Earlier this month, Nguyen was sentenced to 20 months in prison following her guilty plea to the mortgage fraud conspiracy.
United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner made the announcement.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF is a focused interagency program investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) led the investigation with assistance from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Clovis Police Department, Fresno Fire Department and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office all located in California. Primary support for the mortgage fraud portion of the investigation was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.