By Laura Dixon
A 37-year-old San Jose man faces a trial on charges that he extorted money from two prominent members of the local Vietnamese community, a deputy district attorney said Friday.
Ophus Huynh "Phu" Le has been ordered to stand trial on two felony extortion charges for allegedly extorting thousands of dollars from two local Vietnamese residents—a real estate agent and a financial advisor—between June 2010 and March 2012.
Prosecutor Michel Amaral said Le persuaded both men to give him thousands of dollars in cash by promising to protect them from unidentified people in the community who supposedly wanted to hurt them.
If they refused to pay, Le informed the men that he could not guarantee their safety and even told one victim that he could get "two bullets in the head" without Le's protection and would be killed if they went to police, Amaral said.
"Mr. Le targeted high-profile members of the community and used scare tactics to steal their money. His scheme was particularly effective because Mr. Le initially pretended to be someone who could protect them," the attorney said in a statement. "But the victims soon realized that it was Mr. Le who posed the greatest danger to them."
A Santa Clara County judge is expected to set a date for Le's trial on July 2.
Anyone who has been victimized by Le is urged to contact Detective Kiet Nguyen of the Santa Clara Police Department at 408-615-4800.
—Bay City News Service