An elderly merchant from San Francisco’s Chinatown was sentenced Tuesday to three years and four months in jail for passing thousands of dollars in counterfeit bills to customers who were trading him gold coins in 2007. Peter Cheng, 82, was convicted on Aug. 30 of four counts of passing fictitious bills or notes, four counts of grand theft via false pretenses and two counts of second-degree burglary. He was also found not guilty of one count of attempting to pass the fictitious bills.
Cheng was sentenced in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday and was remanded into custody, district attorney’s office spokesman Omid Talai said today. Judge John Schwartz denied a defense motion for a new trial and ordered a restitution hearing to be held on Jan. 30.
Prosecutors said during the last two weeks of May 2007, Cheng passed out about $36,000 in fake U.S. currency in four transactions to two victims in the jewelry store he ran at 1010 Stockton St. In exchange, the victims gave him valuable gold coins. Robert Amparan, Cheng’s defense attorney, said following the conviction in August that he believed the jury wrongfully convicted his client, who he said was unaware of the fake cash.
Amparan said the bills passed through various bank security measures before being discovered. “If bank tellers couldn’t tell these were fake bills, if bank detection machines and longtime Chinatown merchants couldn’t tell, how do you expect (him) to tell?” The U.S. Secret Service was the investigating agency in the case, prosecutors said.
Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.
Please call the Fugitive Watch hot line at 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) or text us at 408-355-0999 or CLICK HERE to send a confidential email tip, if you have any information that can help solve this crime.
Por favor llame la línea de Los Fugitivos en 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) o texto en 408-355-0999 o haga clic aquí para enviar un email a [email protected], si usted tiene alguna información que pueda ayudar a resolver este crimen.
Comment Advisement We welcome your thoughts, but for the sake of all readers, please refrain from the use of obscenities, personal attacks or racial slurs. All comments are subject to our terms of service and may be removed. Repeat offenders may lose commenting privileges.