Couple pleads guilty to bank fraud

Two Newport Coast residents pleaded guilty Thursday morning to bank fraud in connection with seven different financial institutions.

Thomas Chia Fu, 63, and his wife, Cheri L. Shyu, 60, gained a revolving line of credit from multiple banks, including Bank of America, in the amount of $130 million by falsifying their business revenue for Anaheim-based Galleria USA, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The banks lost about $4.7 million because of the fraud between 2008 and 2009.

“In 2008, American taxpayers stepped up to help our nation’s banks, while the Fus concocted a scheme to swindle them,” Christy Romero, a spokeswoman for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) said in a prepared statement. "... Defrauding institutions that received TARP funds is simply defrauding American taxpayers. SIGTARP will aggressively uncover and investigate fraud, waste and abuse related to TARP and actively support the prosecution of these crimes to ensure accountability and justice.”

Shyu is scheduled to be sentenced July 9, and Fu is scheduled to be sentenced on July 30. Both will appear at the Santa Ana federal courthouse.

They face a maximum of 40 years in federal prison.

— Sarah Peters

Twitter: @speters01