PORTLAND, Ore.—A federal grand jury in Portland has returned an indictment charging a local woman for her alleged role in a fraud ring that used the stolen identities of multiple victims in the Portland area to open bank accounts and credit cards, purchase vehicles, and produce false documents.
Mary Phoenix Nguyen, 40, of Oregon City, Oregon, has been charged with aggravated identity theft; social security fraud; illegally possessing device-making equipment; producing, using, or trafficking a counterfeit access device; making illegal transactions with an access device; and possessing fifteen or more unauthorized access devices.
According to court documents, in April 2022, special agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began investigating Nguyen and others in the Portland and Vancouver, Washington areas for their roles in a coordinated fraud ring targeting individuals in the Portland Metropolitan Area, Texas, Florida, and elsewhere. Nguyen and her associates used stolen identities and personal information to obtain credit cards, unlawfully access victims’ bank accounts, apply for multiple vehicle loans, rent at least six apartments and other residences, and fraudulently produce various personal and financial documents including social security cards, driver’s licenses, vehicle titles, and vehicle bills of sale.
From at least February 2021 to October 2022, Nguyen and her associates are believed to have cost victims more than $120,000 and fraudulently obtained vehicles with a total estimated value of more than $150,000.
On October 18, 2022, Nguyen was arrested at her Oregon City residence. She made her initial appearance in federal court today before a U.S. Magistrate Judge and was arraigned, pleaded not guilty, and detained pending further court proceedings. A four-day jury trial is scheduled to begin on January 3, 2023.
Illegally possessing device-marking equipment and making illegal transactions with an access device are punishable by up to 15 years in federal prison. Producing, using, or trafficking a counterfeit access device is punishable by up 10 years. Social security fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory minimum of two years in prison per count of conviction consecutive to any other carceral sentence imposed.
This case was investigated by HSI and the Portland Police Bureau with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Sowray is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.