LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Phuong Tang, 40, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty today to placing envelopes containing a white powdery substance on his coworkers’ desks at the Veterans Affairs Southern Nevada Healthcare System, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.
Tang pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson to an indictment charging one count of false information and hoax related to purported biological and chemical weapons. Tang is scheduled to be sentenced on June 23, 2020.
According to court documents and admissions that Tang made in court, on July 12, 2019, two envelopes containing an unknown white powdery substance were discovered at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System. The North Las Vegas Police Department, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, a HAZMAT team, the ARMOR Section, and Counter-Terrorism teams responded and evacuated employees. A presumptive test determined that the white powder within the envelopes were non-hazardous.
During a search of Tang’s vehicle, white powder residue was present and visible. When interviewed by law enforcement, Tang admitted to putting the envelopes containing the white powder on two coworkers’ desks.
At sentencing, Tang faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, the North Las Vegas Police Department, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Kent is prosecuting the case.