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O.C. couple accused of stealing $130 million from banks

Thomas Chia Fu and wife Cheri L. Shyu of Newport Coast defrauded the banks by exaggerating the value of their company, U.S. attorney's office says.

March 11, 2011|By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times

A federal grand jury has accused an Orange County couple of stealing $130 million from a consortium of banks, including Bank of America, by inflating the value of their importing company's assets.

Thomas Chia Fu and his wife, Cheri L. Shyu, were arrested Thursday at their home in Newport Coast.

The couple owned an Anaheim company called Galleria USA Inc., which imported home decor items from China and sold them in the United States. They defrauded the banks by exaggerating — by as much as 100 times — the value of their company's accounts receivables and inventory, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

The couple are accused of inflating the figure to boost the amount they could draw from a revolving line of credit.

"The $130-million figure is losses actually suffered by the banks," Mrozek said. "That money is gone, and we and other authorities have been trying to track it down."

Fu, 61, and Shyu, 48, were accused in an indictment of submitting fabricated invoices and other records to persuade the banks to continue to lend them money in 2008 and 2009.

The nine bank fraud counts each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The case was investigated by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the FBI and the Secret Service.

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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