SCRANTON — A second California man has admitted traveling across country buying luxury watches by using fraudulent driver’s licenses and credit cards.
John Nguyen, 56, of Westminster, Calif., Friday pleaded guilty in U.S. Middle District Court to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The plea agreement lists restitution of $528,614.
Among the stores at which he bought a Rolex watch were Mountz Jewelers in Camp Hill on Feb. 15, 2014, and Ream Jewelers in Lancaster on March 22, 2014. The watches were valued at $15,688 and $14,204, respectively.
He also attempted to obtain a Rolex worth $12,000 from Kranich’s Jewelers in State College on July 18, 2014.
Phil Nguyen of Garden Grove, Calif., who was arrested in State College in 2014, pleaded guilty in April 2015 to the same charge and agreed to make restitution totaling $114,191.
The two and others involved in the scheme searched the Internet to identify jewelry stores that were authorized to sell expensive watches, according to U.S. Attorney George J. Rocktashel.
For nearly a year beginning in September 2013 they would use counterfeit California driver’s licenses and credit cards to apply for on-line loans to buy watches.
Court documents identify stores in New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Massachusetts, Florida, Michigan and in the Pittsburgh area besides the three in central Pennsylvania where they bought or attempted to buy watches.
The Jewelers’ Security Alliance, a New York-based organization, had issued alerts about the scam it said involved a “gang of Asian suspects.”