Couple Scammed Elderly Man Out of $3M to Live Big in Vegas

Hiep Cong Van, Thy Minh Phan sentenced to prison
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2017 3:46 PM CST
They Conned Retiree Out of $3M, Then Gambled It Away
Hiep Cong Van and Thy Minh Phan   (Mugshots)

A couple who scammed more than $3 million off an elderly Oregon resident are heading to prison after blowing their ill-gotten funds in Las Vegas, the Oregonian reports. The victim, identified only as RW, was a customer of 41-year-old Hiep Cong Van's landscaping business in Colorado but moved to Oregon after retiring. Van and his partner, 39-year-old Thy Minh Phan, told RW they needed money to help keep the landscaping business afloat and to pay off legal fees. They signed a contract agreeing to repay RW with interest. But Assistant US Attorney Scott Bradford says the couple was "bleeding him for all that he had."

Instead of using the money for their business, Van and Phan lived it up in Las Vegas, gambling heavily at multiple casinos. "For the elderly, for the people who are vulnerable, easily given to trusting another, this is a significant breach of human decency," US District Judge Anna Brown told Van during his sentencing Thursday. Van was sentenced to 37 months in prison and must undergo treatment for a compulsive gambling addiction. Phan was sentenced to 21 months in November and will begin her sentence next week. "I know what I did was wrong," Van said during his sentencing. "I am truly sorry, and I regret that for the rest of my life." (More scam stories.)

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