Police-Tied Little Saigon Loan Shark Hoping To Escape Prison At Sentencing Hearing
Will Little Saigon loan shark escape confinement?
The Little Saigon businessman who pleaded guilty earlier this year in a loan-sharking scheme that allegedly used a Westminster Police Department cop as the enforcer is hoping today that a federal judge on Monday punishes him with probation for two years instead of prison time.
Kevin Khanh Tuan Do, 39 and a 1991 immigrant from Vietnam, has apologized to U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, voiced his shame and promised to never commit another crime.
Based on the work of Assistant United States Attorney Brett Sagel and FBI special agents, a Southern California grand jury indicted Do and officer Anthony Duong Donner in August 2013 for charging bikini lounge operator Hanh Le an illegal, "usurious" 60 percent annual interest on a $170,000 loan and using threatening tactics to force payments.
In a guilty plea bargain, Do won the erasure of several counts in exchange for acknowledging he gave false statements during the government's probe of his loan sharking operations.
It is a federal crime to lie to an FBI agent.
Donner goes to trial next year, and both he and Do (as well as the Westminster Police Department) still must face a police corruption civil lawsuit from Le, who has won a scheduled October 2015 trial date.
(Police chief Kevin Baker is also named in the lawsuit, though--at least based on my studies of the case--he didn't know of or participate in the loan sharking scheme.)
For his sentencing hearing, Do also provided Carter glowing character references from a Raytheon Company electrical engineer, a Catholic priest in Winnetka and a Home Depot account manager who met the defendant who owns Do Construction and Design.
Shaun Khojayan, Do's Los Angeles-based criminal defense lawyer also weighed in.
"He regrets his conduct that brings him before the court," Khojayan told the judge. "This case and conviction caused Mr. Do's reputation and business to suffer greatly. He continues to work hard to provide for his family and regain the trust of his friends and community."
Sagel--half of a prosecution team that won a 2009, public corruption conviction against Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona--concurs with the probation punishment and is advocating a $5,000 fine.
Prior to his guilty plea, Do hoped to block introduction of evidence involving an Asian street gang or his "lunches, drinks, campaign contributions or even extra-ordinary contributions for the assistance of the granting of [city] permits" by powerful Westminster politicians Andy Quach and Tyler Diep, according to court records.
Do, a Fountain Valley resident, is also a campaign contributor to Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen, who is currently running for a state senate seat against Jose Solorio.
UPDATE: As expected, the defendant received a punishment of probation for two years plus a fine of $5,000.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.