Alleged York County embezzler faces new charges in Maryland

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Alleged embezzler Phuong Nguyen-Davis didn’t attend her most recent court hearing in York County, resulting in a bench warrant being issued against her.

The reason?

She was actually in Howard County, Maryland, that day for a court appearance on separate theft and embezzlement charges.

Phuong Nguyen-Davis from 2014

The 56-year-old Nguyen-Davis, who was due to appear Dec. 16 before a York County judge in a contempt case over $159,000 in unpaid restitution, faces similar allegations on a larger scale. And that's all on top of outstanding restitution from three previous theft cases.

Both new cases will orbit each other now, with Nguyen-Davis having to hit court dates in Pennsylvania and Maryland as the states work through their separate legal processes.

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Charges in the cases were filed within a few months of each other because, according to the accusations, Nguyen-Davis fled one employer when executives detected fraud last year, got hired at another company within a month and — while under investigation — allegedly started embezzling money again.

Losses from both companies amount to about $926,000, according to police.

Advanced Fluid Systems, in Hellam Township, took the overwhelmingly greater hit, as investigators allege Nguyen-Davis stole$915,045 over five years.

Aerolab, a wind tunnel design company in Jessup, Maryland, told Howard County police during their investigation that an audit found $11,670 in fraud from the company over two months last summer.

Aerolab CEO Hareen Aparakakankanange reached out to The York Dispatch in September to discuss the thefts he uncovered during Nguyen-Davis' brief employment. He declined further comment Thursday.

Nguyen-Davis was charged in Howard County with counts of theft, theft scheme and embezzlement in October.

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The case didn’t become public until December, after she was arraigned into the York County Court of Common Pleas on charges related to AFS, and after she was taken into custody on a warrant and transferred to Maryland.

Aparakakankanange hired Nguyen-Davis as an office manager at Aerolab on June 27. As part of her role, she was issued two debit cards, one for Aerolab and one for a subsidiary, linked to a company bank account for business-related purchases, police said in a charging document.

By August, Aparakakankanange had reported finding fraudulent charges to the cards.

The purchases police listed in the charging document added up to nearly $4,000. They include an Airbnb stay for $945; charges for airline tickets and hotels, including one in Tampa; and about $255 charged to Amazon, including $6.35 for Prime Video.

Hellam Township Police Department in Hellam Township, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

In his interview with the Dispatch, Aparakakankanange also alleged several charges went to a PayPal account under the name “Davis Photography,” and that Nguyen-Davis used company money to pay invoices from that account.

He said when he confronted her about the charges and wanted to settle the balance, she left him $1,000 in cash and disappeared.

Investigators said Nguyen-Davis’ identity from Aerolab was linked to an arrest from 2006 in Howard County.

Police also noted law enforcement databases and flight records listed multiple addresses for her in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Her initial district court appearance in the Aerolab case was held Dec. 16.

Court records that include a Baltimore address for her show she was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond that same day. The York County bench warrant for missing the overlapping contempt hearing lists an address for Cockeysville, a community just north of Baltimore.

A month before Nguyen-Davis was hired at Aerolab, investigators said, she left AFS right before Memorial Day weekend and shortly before company executives filed a report with Hellam Township police.

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She allegedly embezzled the $915,000 while she’d worked at AFS in accounts payable and human resources between when she was hired in January 2017 and her departure.

Investigators alleged Nguyen-Davis funneled money to herself by charging company credit cards, including several she opened without permission, to an online business she set up called “D&G Serviced.” The business name had an apparent typo, according to charging documents.

She then paid off the credit card bills with AFS funds, investigators say.

Purchases included flights, car leases, appliances, groceries, medical appointments and apparently electric bills to a home in York Township, according to police.

She was initially charged with 21 felonies last August. Court documents now show a count of theft, six counts of illegal access of a device, and another count of using a counterfeit device. Her case advanced out of a district court in November, and her original bail was switched to supervised bail.

She was arraigned into the common pleas system Dec. 6, and the Maryland warrant was served after the hearing.

The contempt case referred to three prior theft cases in York County from nearly a decade ago.

Nguyen-Davis was accused of embezzling money and forging checks while she worked at Keystone Certifications Inc., Weaver and Sons Excavation, and Jacoby Plumbing from late 2012-2013.

She pleaded guilty in each case and was then sentenced in March 2014 to 21 months to 3½ years in York County Prison and eight years of probation, plus restitution, court documents show.

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York County Clerk Daniel Byrnes provided a document showing she was assessed more than $211,000 in the three cases. Nearly $8,500 was paid between 2014 and last August.

Nguyen-Davis still owes $159,370, according to the document.

In the criminal cases, Nguyen-Davis has a hearing in Howard County scheduled for Jan. 24. She then has a hearing set for Jan. 30 in York County.

Attorney Sean Quinlan, who represented Nguyen-Davis at her preliminary hearing in November, did not respond to a request for comment.

A phone number associated with Nguyen-Davis appeared to be disconnected.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.