Unlicensed Civil Engineer Held to Answer on 232 Felony Counts in Massive Fraud Case

July 15, 2013

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167
ADA Alex Bastian, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1931

SAN FRANCISCO – District Attorney George Gascón announced today that Jimmy Jen, age 59, was held to answer on 232 felony counts involving approximately 80 separate San Francisco properties where documents were forged and recorded with public agencies. His associate, Jian Min Fong, age 43, was held to answer on 86 felony counts.

“For almost twenty years, the defendant falsified documents jeopardizing the restoration and development of over one hundred properties in San Francisco,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Thanks to an extensive investigation, this massive fraud case was brought to light and a judge has ruled there is enough evidence to go to trial.”

Court documents show that defendant Jen, a currently unlicensed civil engineer, who had at one point been suspended by the California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, forged the signature and engineering stamp of two licensed civil engineers on hundreds of documents.

Specifically Jen is charged with forging the signature and stamp of licensed civil engineer Ching-Liu Wu from 1990 to 1995 on 26 separate land surveys publically filed with the Assessor-Recorder’s Office and the County Surveyor’s Office. From 2000 to 2007, defendant Jen is believed to have submitted to the Department of Building Inspection building plans bearing the purported signature and engineering stamp of Mr. Wu for approximately 60 separate properties. For four of those years from November 2003 to February 2007, Jen is also believed to have conspired with his employee, Jian Min Fong to commit this fraud. Mr. Wu had no relation to the defendant or any of the projects for which these false documents were filed.

Additionally, since approximately 2007, Jen is also alleged to have submitted to the Department of Building Inspection forged documents bearing the false signature and stamp of a second licensed civil engineer, Tai-Ming Chen for roughly 10 San Francisco property addresses. Mr. Chen also had no relation to the defendant or any of the impacted properties.

The forged documents the defendants are accused of filing affected projects including an expansion of a ground-floor unit in the Mission, replacement of a foundation in Presidio Heights; building plans that include the remodel of a 3-unit building in the Haight and the complete redevelopment of the Alexandria Theater in the Richmond District.

The conduct first came to light when a local land surveyor noted some anomalies on a 1990’s –era land survey and then tried to contact the purported civil engineer—Ching-Liu Wu. The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office launched an extensive investigation, reviewing over 10,000 pages of documents, conducting scores of interviews and executing search warrants for a dozen different locations throughout the Bay Area, leading to the arrest of Jimmy Jen and his associate Jian Min Fong on Tuesday, August 3, 2010.

On July 12, 2013, Jen was held on 232 felony counts, including 143 separate counts of forgery. He was also held on 84 counts of submitting false documents to a government office, two counts of false personation, two counts of identity theft, and one count of conspiracy.

For his role in the alleged fraud and conspiracy, Jen’s former employee, Jian Min Fong was held on 86 felony counts including 46 counts of forgery, 37 counts of submitting false documents to a government office, one count of false personation, one count of identity theft and one count of conspiracy in violation of Penal Code section 182.

The defendants will be arraigned on the Information on July 30, 2013. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Evan Ackiron and was investigated by District Attorney Investigator Mike Kloss.