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Man Suspected of Loan Sharking

October 23, 1998|HARRISON SHEPPARD

An Orange County man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of loan sharking after allegedly assaulting a man who refused to sign over his business when he could not pay back a loan.

Westminster police and FBI agents arrested Binh Chi Ta, 24, of Garden Grove. He was charged with making illegal loans to Asian American gamblers in Los Angeles-area casinos.

Westminster Det. Tom Rackleff and federal officials said Ta was involved in making high-interest loans to gamblers at card clubs in Los Angeles.

Ta was arraigned in federal court Thursday and is being held without bail.

Officials said another man, Hieu Trong Nguyen, 28, of Buena Park, also was arrested and charged with violating his parole. Officials said in a news release that Nguyen is under investigation for participating in loan-sharking activities.

Nguyen allegedly threatened the life of a potential witness in another loan-sharking case, Rackleff said. Nguyen was on parole on an armed robbery conviction and is now awaiting a parole violation hearing.

Rackleff said Asian gamblers at card clubs such as the Bicycle Club in Bell Gardens and the Commerce Casino in the City of Commerce were approached with loans of $4,000 to $10,000 and were charged 10% weekly interest.

A number of loan sharks prey on Asian gamblers in those clubs, Rackleff said.

"These people are just being taken advantage of to the hilt," Rackleff said.

Westminster police ask anyone who has any information about loan sharks or has been victimized to call them at (714) 898-3315, Ext. 591.

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