The Garden Grove-based Union of Vietnamese Student Associations (UVSA) announced early this morning that they have filed charges against their president and treasurer after finishing an internal financial review. The group, which organizes one of the oldest and largest Tet festivals in the United States, is accusing former president Nina Tran and former treasurer Helen Nguyen of defrauding them of more than $118,000 over a period of three years.
According to a UVSA press release, executive board members had concerns with the nonprofit's financial management following the 2013 Tet Festival, the last festival to be held in Garden Grove as part of a previous five-year contract. Irregularities in usage of a festival debit card held by Tran continued, including withdrawals and payments made to Tran and Nguyen without supporting documentation, alleges the UVSA.
The organization started an investigation and closed all of Tran and Nguyen's organizational accounts November 2014. Two weeks ago, the inquiry closed, finding evidence of fraud, theft and embezzlement upwards of $118,000, $103,000 attributed to Tran and $15,000 attributed to Nguyen. During the course of the investigation, $33,234 was recovered from Tran by the organization.
UVSA has filed reports with both the Garden Grove Police Department and the California Attorney General. Tran and Nguyen have been removed from the executive board positions.
I've reached out to Tran and Nguyen for comment.