Ponzi Schemer Gets One of Longest S.D. White-Collar Sentences

Thanh-Viet (Jeremy) Cao, a career criminal who was found guilty of running a massive Ponzi scheme last December, was sentenced today (May 16) to 360 months in federal prison -- one of the longest white-collar crime sentences in the Southern District of California. He will have three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $12.4 million in restitution.

Cao threatened his victims with extreme violence, according to the U.S. attorney's office. He told his victims that he had a long history of investment success, but in fact had a history of cheating clients. He told victims he was investing in real estate, mortgages, and certain financial transactions, but he spent much of the money on a $200,000 Bentley, numerous Vegas trips, and the like.

Cao cheated 190 victims out of more than $10 million, according to the U.S. attorney's office. In a separate case, Cao had threatened to torture and kill his business partner, along with the partner's wife and children.

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On top of a thirty year stint in the pen, THEN he gets three years of supervised release. How old is this bird? If he's in his forties, he'll be past seventy when he gets out. As if any supervision will be necessary for an elderly, broken man. He plays very rough for a Vietnamese--sounds almost Sicilian in his threats.

360 months less 15% for good behavior, his life is over, and I for one am glad.

You never know. A tough cookie like this may get some scam going from prison. Best, Don Bauder

Response to Visduh 4:43 p.m. May 16: He may not serve the full 30 years. A prison normally toughens someone. If he gets out with a few years left in his life, he may be even more dangerous. Best, Don Bauder

Don, today's news account in the Light News described him as being 30 years old. So, even putting in 85% of 30 years (25 1/2 years) would not mean an elderly man was leaving prison. You're right that he could emerge embittered and more dangerous than ever.

You are touching on a major social problem: prisoners generally get more hate-filled during confinement, and are more dangerous, as well as more street smart, when they emerge. If they were originally sentenced for a minor crime, society is often the loser. Best, Don Bauder

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