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.
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.