A 30-year-old woman was sentenced in San Jose today for swindling an older man out of his home, car and $200,000 after meeting him during a phone sales call, a Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney said. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Andrea Bryan ordered Samantha Pham, of Elk Grove, to serve a year in county jail and three years of supervised probation, Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourlard said.
Pham, however, will be released Saturday as part of a sentencing agreement allowing her to live at home with an electric monitoring bracelet for three months to care for her autistic sister, Bourlard said. The judge agreed to the reduced sentence and probation after Pham provided the elderly victim restitution of $250,000, which her defense attorneys confirmed had been raised from family members, Bourlard said.
As conditions of her probation, Pham cannot engage in the real estate profession or use dating or online match sites and must obtain counseling for gambling addiction or face up to seven years in jail or state prison. Pham, a native of Vietnam and former real estate agent, met the 67-year-old victim while making a “cold” sales call in April 2009 to get him to refinance a loan on his home in Campbell.
After flirting with him, she told employees of his bank that she was his fiancee who wanted to qualify him for a $200,000 loan off of his Campbell home. She later convinced him to place the $200,000 into a shell company she ran with her boyfriend in Elk Grove and later used $50,000 of it to pay off a restitution debt she owed from a criminal case in Nevada.
The elderly man also bought Pham a $73,000 Lexus car that was later repossessed. When he could not meet payments on the $200,000 loan, Pham convinced him to sell the home for $930,000, from which she extracted a $7,000 fee. He soon fell on bad times and filed for bankruptcy. Pham broke off contact with the elderly man in September 2009 and he reported her actions to Campbell police. Police learned that Pham had gambled and lost more than $1 million from a casino in Placerville between 2009 and 2012.
Several other men contacted the district attorney’s office about Pham, saying that they met her on the dating site Match.com, loaned her money and never heard from her again, Bourlard said. After an investigation, authorities decided those men must pursue their cases in civil court, Bourlard said.
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