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Prosecutors: Women Preyed On OC Vietnamese Community In $2M Scam

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(CBS) Mike Landa
Mike Landa is KNX Newsradio's Orange County Bureau Chief. For more...
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textalerts180 Prosecutors: Women Preyed On OC Vietnamese Community In $2M Scam

WESTMINSTER (CBS) — Two Southland women were arrested Wednesday for allegedly cheating their clients in Orange County out of $2 million in a fraudulent real estate investment scheme.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports the arrests have left the suspects’ clients from the predominantly Vietnamese-American neighborhood financially strapped and emotionally distraught.

Loan Thituong Nguyen, 43, of Westminster, and Lynn Eichenberger, 42, of Chatsworth, are each charged with 15 counts of grand theft, two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit grand theft, with sentence-enhancing allegations for property loss of more than $1 million, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Nguyen, a licensed real estate broker who manages Suncoast Mortgage Corp. and Suncoast Investment Realty, and Eichenberger recruited 17 Vietnamese-American clients to give them money to invest in foreclosed properties to which they had no claims, prosecutors alleged.

Victims were told their money was going toward paying half of the balance owed on a property’s mortgage, prosecutors alleged.

When clients confronted the defendants because there was no return on their investments, the two would say the deal fell through, according to prosecutors, who said the scheme was operated between August and December 2009.

One of the women’s alleged victims said the scam cost him as much as $380,000 and has left him “very angry”.

“I called many times, she didn’t answer me,” said the unidentified man. “Then I came to her office to confront her and she challenged me to go to the court system.”

Bail was set at $2 million for both defendants.

Nguyen, who also faces additional charges of forgery and false recording of documents, faces up to 24 years in prison if convicted, while Eichenberger would face nearly 23 years behind bars, according to prosecutors.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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