SEC Obtains Preliminary Injunction in Ongoing Litigation for Fraud Targeting Vietnamese-American Community
Litigation Release No. 24533 / July 15, 2019
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Richard Vu Nguyen, et al., No. SACV19-1174-AG (KESx) (C.D. Cal.)
The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained consented-to preliminary injunctions and asset freezes against a Santa Ana, California-based company, its founder, and a relief defendant in the SEC's ongoing litigation alleging an offering fraud targeting members of the Vietnamese-American community.
According to the SEC's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of California on June 13, 2019, Richard Vu Nguyen (a/k/a Nguyen Thanh Vu) and his company, NTV Financial Group, Inc., defrauded at least 80 investors of $2.4 million by, among other things, making false and misleading statements about Nguyen's experience and failing to disclose that Nguyen was misappropriating investor funds to pay his personal and business expenses and those of Nguyen's girlfriend, the relief defendant. The complaint further alleges that Nguyen and NTV improperly acted as investment advisers and defrauded at least 30 clients by accessing their brokerage accounts using their usernames and passwords and trading securities in their accounts in exchange for half of any trading profits.
The SEC's complaint charges Nguyen and NTV with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, as well as Sections 206(1), 206(2), and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206(4)-8 thereunder. The Court's order preliminarily enjoins Nguyen and NTV from violating these provisions of the securities laws and from accessing third-parties' securities brokerage accounts even with consent. The order continues the asset freezes previously entered against Nguyen, NTV, and Do, and appoints a permanent receiver over NTV.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by staff in the SEC's Los Angeles Regional Office. The SEC's litigation will be led by Douglas Miller and Amy Longo.
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, in conjunction with the Division of Enforcement's Retail Strategy Task Force, has issued a new Investor Alert about affinity frauds that includes steps investors can take to protect themselves from investment fraud. Resources are also available in Vietnamese at Investor Alert: Affinity Fraud.