Two Irvine bank tellers embezzled more than $112,000 in 2013 and faced potential prison trips, but walked out of Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse April 7 visibly relieved with comparative wrist slaps.
Nether U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter, a federal prosecutor nor defense lawyers thought prison would be the appropriate punishment for first-time offenders Duy Nguyen and Tuan Luu, both born in 1987.
Carter ordered Nguyen to repay at least $450 a month for the $24,000 he embezzled from United Central Bank, undergo four months of home detention and then spend five years on supervised probation.
Luu's punishment was similar: repay at least $2,000 a month for the $88,500 he stole from the same bank, undergo six months of home detention and then spend five years on supervised probation.
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Carter warned the two men he will send them to prison if they fail to pay restitution.
Both tellers were caught skimming cash deposits in an undercover, government sting operation.