— Domani Spero
On November 6, 2013, USDOJ announced that Michael T. Sestak, the former Nonimmigrant Visa Section Chief at the US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City had pleaded guilty to “receiving more than $3 million in bribes” in exchange for U.S. visas. Two women were also charged in the visa fraud-bribery conspiracy: Hong Vo, 27, an American citizen, and Truc Tranh Huynh, 29, a Vietnamese citizen. On September 24, 2013, US authorities arrested Binh Vo, a U.S. citizen and another of the remaining alleged co-conspirators at the Washington Dulles International Airport. The last one of the alleged co-conspirators, Anhdao Thuy Nguyen, 30, a Vietnamese citizen, and Bihn Vo’s wife remains at large.
On Febraury 4, 2014, court records indicate that the case of ANHDAO T. NGUYEN was “directly reassigned to Calendar Committee as she has been a fugitive for more than 90 days.”
On March 7, 2014, BINH TANG VO was arraigned on Counts 1ss,2ss-14ss,15ss-27ss, and 28ss before Judge John D. Bates. Plea of NOT GUILTY was entered by BINH TANG VO as to all Counts of the Superseding Information.
In the case of Vietnamese national Truc Tranh Huynh, court records indicate that sentencing was held onFebruary 21, 2014 before Judge John D. Bates as to Ms. Huynh (5) on Count 23s. Defendant was sentenced to Sixteen (16) months of incarceration and Twelve (12) months of Supervised Release; Special Assessment of $100. Defendant committed; commitment issued. She previously entered a plea agreement in October last year.
According to court records, defendant Hong Vo also pleaded guilty to one count of a criminal information arising out of her participation in a wide spread visa fraud scheme. The Government’s memorandum in aid of sentencing filed by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. on the case of Ms. Vo says in part:
The defendant’s participation in this multi-million dollar scheme implicated both the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and, thus, warrants an appropriately strong sentence. The need for proper deterrence is especially important where, as here, individuals could be drawn into a scheme in the hope of procuring a financial windfall. A 16 month sentence would have a real deterrent effect and will serve as a clear warning to anyone tempted to defraud the U.S. State Department’s visa-issuing procedures for financial gain.
Court records indicate that this case had also been resolved:
Sentencing held on 3/7/2014 as to HONG CHAU VO (4), before Judge John D. Bates on Count 1ss: Defendant sentenced to Ten (10) months split sentence: Seven (7) and a half months of incarceration and Two (2) and a half months of Home Detention; Thirty (30) months of Supervised Release. Special Assessment of $100.00. All counts of Indictment and the Superseding Indictment are dismissed as to this defendant. Defendant remains in 3rd Party custody.
On March 10, 2014, defendant Michael T. Sestak submitted a status report on the disposition of his real properties in Phuket and Bangkok, Thailand as part of his plea agreement:
Since the last report filed on January 24, 2014, Mr. Sestak has engaged Mulvana, DeAngeli & Associates, to act as his agent in Thailand. Mr. Sestak is in the process of authorizing this firm to act on his behalf. […] Attorneys at Mulvana, DeAngeli & Associates in Thailand have met with potential appraisers for the Phuket and Bangkok properties. Attorneys at Mulvana, DeAngeli & Associates have also spoken with potential brokers in Phuket and have several meetings planned this week with several additional brokers.
Case title: USA v. SESTAK et al; Magistrate judge case number: 1:13-mj-00463-AK