Brisbane couple held in traffic-school swindle

One Brisbane couple has seen their fair share of troubles, including tax evasion charges more than a decade ago. But nothing can top last week.

After being arrested on charges that she took cash from traffic violators who didn’t want to attend an eight-hour class at a San Francisco traffic school, Sheila Ann Ip gave birth to a baby while awaiting arraignment.

Ip, 39, and Chun Lung “Louis” Siu, 37, are facing 30 felony counts of issuing illegal traffic certificates and perjury following a Department of Motor Vehicles investigation.

They operate a certified traffic school called Speed Traffic School at 4224 Mission St. The school teaches a class that is required for drivers to remove points from their records after receiving a moving violation.

But for an extra fee, the two would issue the certificates without the driver having to attend the class, according to Erica Derryck, a spokeswoman with the District Attorney’s Office.

The regular fee for the Speed Traffic School test is $40, but Ip and Siu would sometimes ask for an extra $20 or have the student pay in cash instead of credit so they could pocket the cash, Derryck said.

Siu was in court on Wednesday along with Ip’s attorney. Ip could not attend the hearing because she gave birth while in custody. Siu posted $50,000 bail and Ip’s bail was reduced to nothing despite an argument from prosecutors.

This is not the first time the couple has had troubles with the law. In 1998, Siu was a wholesale jewelry agent in the U.S. for a Hong Kong company. The IRS charged Ip with wiring proceeds from the business back to Hong Kong without paying taxes.

The couple won an appeal in 2000 because the IRS didn’t give them enough notice when they subpoenaed their banking information. It’s unclear how the case ended once it was sent back to federal court.

The two are scheduled back for arraignment in January. Ip is charged with nine counts of “offering a false instrument” and nine counts of perjury. Siu is charged with six counts of each.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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