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People v. Truong

California Court of Appeals, Second District, First Division

April 5, 2017

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
THUY LE TRUONG, Defendant and Appellant.

         APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. KA105874 George Genesta, Judge. Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

          Lori Nakaoka, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

          Kamala D. Harris and Xavier Becerra, Attorneys General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Shawn McGahey Webb, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, and Noah P. Hill, Deputy Attorney General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

          LUI, J.

         Defendant and appellant Thuy Le Truong appeals from the judgment of conviction based on illegal possession of bank-issued credit cards and bank customer account and identifying information. In count 1, Truong was charged with acquisition or retention of access card account information with the intent to use it fraudulently in violation of Penal Code[1] section 484e, subdivision (d), based on her possession of two Bank of America credit cards belonging to her neighbors. Count 2 charged the fraudulent possession of identifying information of multiple persons pursuant to section 530.5, subdivision (c)(3), based on Truong's possession of a spreadsheet containing Wells Fargo Bank customer account information. Counts 3 and 4 charged receiving stolen property in violation of section 496, subdivision (a). Count 3 related to Truong's possession of the credit cards, and count 4 was based on Truong's possession of the customer account information on the spreadsheet. Count 5 charged fraudulent possession of identifying information as a misdemeanor under section 530.5, subdivision (c)(1), based on Truong's possession of a coworker's personal identifying information. A jury convicted Truong as charged.[2]

         Truong contends: (1) none of her convictions is supported by substantial evidence; (2) because she was convicted of theft under section 484e, subdivision (d), and identity theft under section 530.5, subdivision (c)(3), she could not also be convicted of receiving the same stolen property in violation of section 496, subdivision (a); and (3) two of her counts of conviction must be reversed because the trial court erroneously admitted evidence of the credit limit for the stolen credit cards. We agree that section 496 bars dual convictions for theft and receipt of the same property, and therefore reverse one of Truong's two counts of conviction for receiving stolen property. In all other respects, we affirm.


         In 2013, Truong worked for Wells Fargo Bank as a customer service and sales representative, but she functioned primarily as a private banker. Truong's private banking duties gave her access to internal databases containing personal customer information. Truong worked with other private bankers, including David Gonzales, whose duties included soliciting businesses in the community to sign up for Wells Fargo services. During his solicitations, Gonzales would bring with him a form containing some preprinted information, including his “officer portfolio number, ” an internal Wells Fargo identification specific to Gonzales. Wells Fargo expressly trained its private bankers, including Truong, not to remove paperwork with personal identifying information from the bank.

         Truong's next-door neighbors, Isamabi and Johnny Woods, held a credit card account at Bank of America. After Bank of America warned Mrs. Woods of suspicious activity on her account, she deactivated her credit cards and ordered replacement cards for herself and her husband. Mrs. Woods had Bank of America send the cards to her home, where she expected them to arrive in her mailbox, which was unlocked and affixed to a wooden post at the curb in front of her residence. The cards never arrived. When Mrs. Woods called the bank to report she had not received the cards, the representative confirmed the cards had been sent to her home address. At some point in the months after Mrs. Woods's call to the bank, Truong returned mail to Mrs. Woods which was addressed to the Woodses, saying it had been erroneously delivered to her home. The mail included photos of the Woodses' son, but not the credit cards.

         In May 2014, police executed a search warrant for Truong's residence. Two Bank of America credit cards were recovered from Truong's dresser drawer in her bedroom. The cards bore the Woodses' names and did not have any of the usual accompanying paperwork or envelopes with them. Police also seized two Wells Fargo documents from Truong's desk in the home. The first was a spreadsheet containing 48 customers' names and account numbers. The second was a customer account application bearing Gonzales's name and credentials. Wells Fargo policy prohibited Truong from possessing any of this information outside of work.

         In an interview with police following the search, Truong explained that the credit cards had been “delivered to [her] house” by “[t]he mailman or something.” When asked why she had not returned the cards, Truong replied, “I thought, because at that time I also applied for our Bank of America [sic] and then I opened it, it was somebody else's mail.” She later stated that her father had actually mistakenly opened the envelope containing the cards, and when she saw them, she thought, “I'm going to return it. And I leave [sic] it there and totally forgot about it.” Later she changed her story again, explaining, “I was going to return them. I opened it and I saw it, I'm like, who is this? I think next door, but I'm not sure. Either I was going to give it to next door because I think it was next door but I'm not sure. But either give it next door or give it to B of A.” When the detective pointed out that the cards' secreted location suggested she had no intention of returning them, she responded, “I put it on the, on the bookshelf. Actually I was going to throw it away but I'm afraid that people might pick it up and I don't know.”


         On appeal, Truong contends: (1) none of her convictions is supported by substantial evidence; (2) the court erred in allowing convictions for receiving stolen property and other theft offenses involving the same property; and (3) the court erred in admitting evidence of the credit limit for the stolen cards.

         Assessing Truong's substantial evidence claim, “ ‘we review the entire record in the light most favorable to the judgment to determine whether it contains substantial evidence-that is, evidence that is reasonable, credible, and of solid value-from which a reasonable trier of fact could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.' ” (People v. Avila (2009) 46 Cal.4th 680, 701; People v. Watkins (2012) 55 Cal.4th 999, 1019-1020.) We draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the verdict and presume the existence of every fact the jury could reasonably deduce from the evidence that supports its findings. (People v. Maciel (2013) 57 Cal.4th 482, 515; People v. Kraft (2000) 23 Cal.4th 978, 1053.) “[U]nless [a witness's] testimony is physically impossible or inherently improbable, testimony of a single witness is sufficient to support a conviction.” (People v. Young (2005) 34 Cal.4th 1149');">34 Cal.4th 1149, 1181.) “In deciding the sufficiency of the evidence, a reviewing court resolves neither credibility issues nor evidentiary conflicts.” (Ibid.; People v. Maury (2003) 30 Cal.4th 342, 403.) Rather, “ ‘it is the exclusive province of the... jury to determine the credibility of a witness and the truth or falsity of the facts, ' ” and it is not for us to substitute our judgment for that of the jury's. (People v. Ochoa (1993) 6 Cal.4th ...

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