A Vietnamese-American finance services manager in California, the US was charged Thursday with embezzling US$4.3 million from public funds, according to media reports.
Michael Minh Nguyen, 34, the number two in Placentia City’s Finance Department, faces 17 felony counts of misappropriation of public funds and is being held in the Orange County Jail in lieu of $4.3 million bail, according to news website The Orange County Register.
He appeared briefly Thursday in Orange County Superior Court, telling the judge he did not have money to pay for an attorney. He will be represented by the Public Defender’s Office.
He was placed on administrative leave Tuesday, arrested Wednesday night and fired Thursday morning, officials said.
From April 22, 2015, to April 12, 2016, he is accused of making 17 wire transfers from a Placentia account to several accounts belonging to him and others.
Placentia officials learned of the alleged embezzlement on Tuesday, when the FBI alerted them to suspicious transfers from city accounts, according to the report.
If convicted, Nguyen faces a maximum sentence of 29 years in state prison and a fine of $8.6 million.