Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


25-Year Sentence For Placentia Financial Services Manager Convicted Of Embezzling Millions

Photo courtesy of the Orange County District Attorney's Office via the Orange County Register
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

An Orange County Superior Court has sentenced Michael Minh Nguyen, 34, a former financial services manager for the city of Placentia to 25 years in prison. Nguyen was arrested in April 2016 for embezzling millions from the city during his stint as interim manager of the city's financial services department.

According to the Los Angeles Times, between Jan. 27, 2014, and April 12, 2016, Nguyen made 36 wire transfers from a city account to other accounts belong to himself and several other people.

"He was accused of wiring some of the money to a professional gambler in Las Vegas," adds City News Service. "Arrest warrants have been issued for two other defendants in the case."

“You understand you owe the city of Placentia this money?” Orange County Superior Court Judge Gary S. Paer asked Nguyen of the $10 million in fines and the $2.6 million in restitutions the court ordered, reports the Orange County Register.

Support for LAist comes from

“I thought the offer by the judge was grossly high in comparison to other cases,” Rudy Loewenstein, Nguyen's attorney, later commented. “However, my client wanted to make an admission; he wanted to accept responsibility, so it was his choice.”

“Perhaps what pains me the most is that you, Mr. Nguyen, grew up here and spent most of your professional career in this area,” Placentia City Administrator Damien Arrula told Nguyen during his sentencing. “This was your home. This was our home. And you took a torch to it.”