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Army Officer Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison After Admitting Theft of Government Property Related to DOD Contracts in Support of Iraq War Army Captain Stole in Excess of $690,000

U.S. Attorney’s Office May 03, 2010
  • District of Oregon (503) 727-1000

PORTLAND, OR—Capt. Michael Dung Nguyen, 28, of Ft. Lewis, Washington, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Ancer L. Haggerty following his guilty pleas to the crimes of theft of government property and structuring financial transactions. Nguyen was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on September 1, 2010. In addition to imprisonment, Judge Haggerty order Nguyen to serve three years of supervised release, pay restitution in the amount of $200,000 and forfeit his interest in all personal property he bought with the stolen money as well as the remaining funds seized by the government at the time of his arrest.

Nguyen previously admitted that while on deployment to Iraq, he stole and converted to his own use approximately $690,000 in United States currency. Nguyen gained access to the funds in his capacity as the Project Purchasing Officer in the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment of the United States Army. The money was derived from Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds. CERP funds are the property of the United States and are managed by the Department of Defense (DOD). The currency was intended as payment for security contracts with the Sons of Iraq as well as humanitarian relief and reconstruction programs.

Nguyen transported the stolen CERP funds into the District of Oregon by mailing the stolen CERP funds to himself at his family’s Oregon residence prior to his return from Iraq. Shortly after his return from Iraq, Nguyen opened new bank accounts at Bank of America, Washington Mutual Bank, America’s Credit Union and Heritage Bank and proceeded to deposit $387,550.00 of the stolen CERP money into those accounts in Oregon and elsewhere. Between June 9, 2008 and September 26, 2008, Nguyen made repeated deposits of the stolen CERP funds in a manner that was intended to evade federal reporting requirements for the deposit of large amounts of currency.

After depositing the money in the accounts, Nguyen purchased a 2008 BMW and a 2009 Hummer H3T, in addition to purchasing computers, firearms, electronics and furniture. During the execution of a search warrant, investigators discovered over $300,000 in stolen CERP funds hidden in the attic of Nguyen’s Portland family home.

The investigation was initiated by the Portland office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation following the discovery of large and frequent currency deposits and substantial expenditures above Captain Nguyen’s legitimate income level. The investigation was joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Army CID's Major Procurement Fraud Unit and Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug prosecuted the case.

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