Elizabeth Lai - Page 5
- 5 -
purchased the cashier’s check with funds from Gioni Birkenfeld,
petitioner’s former daughter-in-law and the mother of
petitioner’s grandchild, and with funds that came indirectly from
Hong Lai, petitioner’s sister. Gioni Birkenfeld gave petitioner
$17,000. Hong Lai, who lived in Vietnam at the time, arranged
for several relatives in the United States to give money to
petitioner. When those relatives later traveled to Vietnam, Hong
Lai repaid them the amounts they paid petitioner, which the
relatives would use during their trips in Vietnam.3 Acting on
Hong Lai’s behalf, petitioner then used the cash she received
from the relatives to pay for the remaining portion of the
cashier’s check for which Gioni Birkenfeld did not pay.
On October 2, 2000, petitioner purchased a residence in
Portland, Oregon, apparently using the cashier’s check as a
downpayment. Gioni Birkenfeld lived in the residence for 14
months after it was purchased, during which time she assumed
responsibility for mortgage payments of approximately $1,500 per
month. Hong Lai lived in the residence for a brief period when
she arrived in the United States in 2003. The residence was sold
in September 2003.
3 A vital factual underpinning of petitioner’s actions in
this case is her (and her family’s) reluctance to transport
money--particularly large sums of U.S. dollars--between Vietnam
and the United States in ordinary banking transactions.
Petitioner and her family apparently feared that Vietnamese
officials would seize the money if discovered.
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Last modified: November 10, 2007