Woodbury Man Sentenced for Identity Theft

December 03, 2018 01:29 PM

The video above originally aired in July


A Woodbury man has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison Monday after pleading guilty in July to identity theft and another charges in connection to a scheme in which authorities say he stole the identities of approximately 300 people, many of them linked to the Twin Cities charity where he worked.

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RELATED: Woodbury Man Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft of Approximately 300 People

Hai Jay Phu Vu pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft and one count of obtaining unemployment benefits through false representation as part of a plea agreement. He was sentenced to 78 months in prison with credit for 167 days served. 

A criminal complaint said the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) contacted the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in September 2017 after discovering "suspicious circumstances surrounding the filings" for Vu's unemployment insurance. 

The complaint said Vu's employment with House of Charity, a homeless shelter, was severed due to disciplinary issues in February 2017. The complaint goes on to say Vu falsely checked certain questions while applying for unemployment benefits, and that he failed to disclose new employment gained in June 2017. 

DEED raised further concerns after multiple payments were made to Vu's unemployment insurance account for an outstanding $885. 

The complaint said between March and August of 2017, five payments were made to Vu's DEED account from multiple bank accounts that did not belong to Vu. None of the owners of the accounts authorized the payments, according to the complaint. 

Investigators reviewed the banking records of the five victims and discovered a number of unauthorized payments from the account.  Authorities learned all five victims were donors to House of Charity. While working at House of Charity, Vu had access to donors' banking information, according to the complaint. 

RELATED: County Attorney: Man Stole Identity of More Than 300 People

When authorities executed a search warrant on Vu's home, they located approximately 300 victim identities that had been stolen, the complaint said. The information seized included credit reports, rental applications, copies of checks, original checks, banking information and statements, utility bills, a birth certificate and a notary stamp. 
 

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Frank Rajkowski and Ben Rodgers

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