Man accused of targeting Vietnamese families appears in court

Attorney Tam Nguyen (far left) has been advocating for the victims of a suspected fraud and embezzlement case targeting hundreds of Vietnamese families in the South Bay.

August 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Members of the Vietnamese community packed a courtroom in San Jose Friday and vowed to see a case through.

For two years they complained to authorities that they were being ripped off by a group they paid into to get death benefits.

Last week authorities arrested a man who headed the group known as Concerned Members Committee. Davie Ba Ngo is charged with seven counts of fraud and embezzlement and is being held on $1 million bail.

His employee Stephanie Le faces one count of embezzlement.

They are accused of stealing at least $200,000 of the money members paid to the group.

Loved ones of victims also attended Friday's hearing.

"They have lost all their money despite the fact that they put their trust in this committee to have some money for funeral expenses," said Minh Steven Dovan, the victim's nephew.

"It's really sad for her and all her friends because there's hundreds of people, or thousands of people that are part of this program that are getting taken," said Kent Kahle, the victim's son-in-law.

Judge Jerome Nadler continued the case two weeks to allow defendants to get an attorney.