A Little Saigon businessman accused of running a loan shark operation and hiring a police officer as his “enforcer” has pleaded guilty after reaching a deal with federal prosecutors.
Kevin Tuan Khanh Do, who prosecutors said charged a lounge owner a 60% annual interest rate after lending her $170,000, pleaded guilty Friday to a single count of making a false statement to a federal agency.
Federal prosecutors agreed to drop other charges against Do after he cooperated with Department of Justice officials. The plea bargain, first reported by the OC Weekly, came as Do’s trial was preparing to open.
Meanwhile, the trial of a former Westminster police officer accused of being an enforcer for Do has been pushed back until June 2015.
Agents arrested Do last August and said that he had teamed up with Anthony Duong Donner, a six-year patrol officer for the Westminster police.
The FBI said that in 2011, Do loaned $170,000 to a woman who wanted to open a Garden Grove coffee house and a lounge in neighboring Westminster, charging her 5% interest per month.
FBI Special Agent Joseph Paul Nieblas said Do directed Donner to collect payments from the customer and told the woman that if she didn't pay, the police would "interfere with her business" and cite her for driving under the influence, even if she wasn't drinking.
The woman told officials she was afraid of Do, and that officers working for Do "interfered with her business with patrol cars, doing car stops on employees after work, and entering the business to intimidate customers," Nieblas said.
Wiretaps enabled FBI agents to monitor Do's use of "local law-enforcement officials, including Donner, to intimidate payment" from the woman, according to a FBI affidavit that revealed the two defendants lived together in Fountain Valley while carrying out transactions.
The owner of the Little Saigon lounge, Hanh Le, has filed suit against Westminster, saying that officers in the city formed a “team” to intimidate her and provide muscle for the accused loan shark.