Two North Jersey Women Admit Roles in Scheme to Defraud Banks and Credit Card Companies Out of Millions of Dollars
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 23, 2013|
Two members of a large-scale and sophisticated identity theft scheme today admitted their roles in defrauding banks and credit card companies out of millions of dollars, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Rita S. Kim, 49, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, and Hyon-Suk Chung, a/k/a “Clara,” 50, of North Bergen, New Jersey, each pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden to count one of a second superseding indictment charging them with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Kim and Chung conspired with Sang-Hyun Park, a/k/a “Jimmy,” and others to defraud banks and credit card companies. Park obtained Social Security cards beginning with the prefix “586,” which were issued by the United States to individuals, usually from China, who were employed in American territories, such as Guam. The individuals from China who were issued these Social Security numbers never established credit files or scores in the United States—these Chinese identities were essentially blank slates with no corresponding credit files or scores. Kim and Chung engaged in the fraudulent build-up of credit scores associated with these Chinese identities by adding them as authorized users to their credit card accounts in exchange for a fee from Park and his associates.
Kim and Chung admitted they received information related to the Chinese identities necessary for the credit build-up from Park’s associates, such as Sung-Sil Joh, a/k/a “Jenny,” and Young-Hee Ju, a/k/a “Stephanie.” Joh and Ju have pleaded guilty in connection with their roles in the scheme and await sentencing.
By attaching the Chinese identities to their credit card accounts, Kim and Chung increased the credit scores associated with the Chinese identities to between 700 and 800. Kim and Chung each admitted that they created credit scores for approximately 100 Chinese identities. They also acknowledged that their criminal conduct caused credit card companies and other lenders $2,047,651 in losses.
Kim and Chung each face a maximum potential penalty of up to 60 months in prison and will be ordered to pay restitution and forfeiture of more than $2 million. Sentencing for both Kim and Chung is scheduled for January 8, 2014.
Park, Kim, Chung, and more than 50 other individuals were charged in this scheme on September 16, 2010. To date, more than 50 defendants have pleaded guilty and two remain at large. Park pleaded guilty on January 9, 2012, related to his role in the enterprise and is awaiting sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark; IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen; and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees; and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor John L. Molinelli and the Office’s Chief of Detectives, Steven Cucciniello, for their work leading to today’s plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Moscato of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit and Jane Yoon of the Criminal Division in Newark.
As for other members of the Park Criminal Enterprise, the charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.