The sentencing for Phau Lam has been delayed once again. You may recall our original story from two years ago that documented how Lam continued to charge his customers’ credit cards for meals they never ate, even after he shut down his Chinese restaurant. When we tried to question him, Lam ran and didn’t stop until he was out of sight.
Lam pleaded guilty in December, but the judge would not accept the deal with prosecutors. Lam told an interviewer with the Probation Department, “I am innocent. I only pleaded guilty because my lawyers told me to.” Lam’s public defender argued there was a misunderstanding – that something got lost in the translation. So, the judge ordered another interview to make sure Lam is accepting responsibility.
Well, the new probation report didn’t arrive on Judge Charles Haines’ desk until this morning, and he says he needs more time to digest what he called “a complicated case”. He was also troubled by comments from the Probation Department in court today, that the probation officer who took Lam’s original statement speaks Cantonese – even speaks Lam’s dialect – and that the officer showed Lam’s initial statement to the defendant before submitting it to the court. It looks like the judge might be thinking that 3 years is not enough for 37 counts of identity theft, forgery and credit card fraud.