Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Sabol Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud In Connection With Fraudulent Auto Leasing Scheme;
Plea Agreement Includes Agreement For $943,250 In Restitution
SALT LAKE CITY – Nghia Thi Sabol, age 65, a Vietnamese citizen living in Salt Lake County, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in U.S. District Court Wednesday afternoon in connection with a fraudulent auto leasing program. Most of the investors in the scheme were promised returns of 4-5 percent per month on their investment, however they lost all or a majority of the funds they invested in the scheme. Restitution owed to victims in the case is $943,250.
Sabol, also known as Nia Sabol, Nghia Cano, Nghia Thi Nguyen, Nghia Wynn Sabol, and Nghia Wynn, is currently incarcerated in the Utah State Prison on unrelated securities charges. She was charged in a federal indictment returned in November with four counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering following an investigation by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation.
According to documents filed in federal court, Sabol established a company called W.A.V.E., LLC (WAVE) with headquarters in Midvale. She claimed WAVE offered an automobile leasing program referred to as “WAVE’s American Evaluation Program” and solicited individuals to participate in the leasing program, promising returns of approximately 4 to 5 percent per month. She also sold investments in WAVE. Sabol represented that participants in WAVE’s automobile leasing program would receive a new automobile of their choice manufactured by one of the three major U.S. automobile manufacturers to “test drive” for one year with unlimited mileage. In return, they were required to pay a one-time, non-refundable fee of about $300, pay 10 percent of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the vehicle chosen, and were required to complete vehicle evaluation forms to be furnished to the manufacturer.
As a part of a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors, Sabol admitted that she represented to investors that WAVE had contracts with three major U.S. automobile manufacturers and that WAVE would be paid a subsidy in exchange for vehicle evaluations provided by their participants, when in fact, she knew WAVE had no contracts with automobile manufacturers. She also admitted that she represented to investors that WAVE had purchased vehicles for WAVE’s auto leasing program with funds received from major automobile manufacturers, when in fact, the funds were obtained from WAVE investors. She also represented to investors that WAVE attorneys had received millions of dollars from automobile manufacturers and were awaiting distribution to WAVE, when in fact, no such funds had been provided to WAVE.
Sabol also concealed from investors that she had a previous felony conviction for fraud and was on parole, that the terms of her parole prohibited her from dealing in investments or being employed in a fiduciary position, and that most investors lost all or a majority of the funds they invested in WAVE.
Sabol’s plea to wire fraud involved the transfer of $160,000 from a victim of the fraud to WAVE’s account at a bank in Utah.
The plea agreement executed Wednesday includes a stipulated sentence of 24 months to be followed by 36 months of supervised release. The sentence is subject to the approval of and acceptance of the Court. The sentence would run concurrent with any indeterminate sentence imposed in a separate state case.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups presided at the plea hearing Wednesday and is scheduled to impose the sentence in the case on April 14 at 3 p.m.