Garden Grove PD arrests ex-contractor for allegedly defrauding elderly couple of $47K

By Lou Ponsi

A former contractor arrested by the Garden Grove Police Department has been charged with fraud, forgery, theft from the elderly and other felonies in connection to a financial elder abuse case that cost a couple and a lending institution close to $47,000 in losses.

Police said Robert Thanh Trinh, 32, of La Habra convinced an 89-year-old man and his 87-year-old wife that they needed $47,000 in upgrades to their home.

Trinh, who was operating as a contractor through his business, Pacific Home Remodeling, forged the victims’ signatures on financial documents when they were at the hospital tending to the husband’s deteriorating health.

“This overt act of forgery facilitated the release of funds to Pacific Home Remodeling and caused a loan to be taken out against the equity in the Singers’ home,” said GGPD Det. Scott Coleman, a financial crimes investigator.

The victims’ children became aware of the situation and contacted Renovate America, a San Diego-based home improvement financing institution that released the funds to Trinh based on the forged signatures.

Renovate America conducted its own investigation, and then contacted the GGPD.

With help from the family and Renovate America, GGPD investigators collected enough evidence to arrest Trinh. Renovate America also is listed as a victim in the criminal complaint.

The husband died in April while the case still was under investigation and the couple’s home was burglarized while the family was attending the funeral.

Trinh is out on bail and while his contractor’s license has been revoked by the state licensing board, he could continue to operate as a salesman in the construction industry, Coleman said.

The detective urged anyone who may have been victimized by Trinh to contact the District Attorney’s Office.

“It’s important that people with elderly family members remain aware of Robert Trinh and other contractors engaging in predatory home-improvement and reverse-mortgage scams,” the detective said.