U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Jersey
(973) 645-2888
February 10, 2015

Former Assistant Vice President of Bank Indicted for Bank Fraud and Embezzling More Than $1 Million

NEWARK, NJ—A former bank assistant vice president was indicted today by a federal grand jury in connection with a scheme to embezzle more than $1 million while she worked at a bank in Fort Lee, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Miye Chon, a/k/a/ “Karen Chon,” 34, of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, was charged with one count of bank fraud and 27 counts of theft, embezzlement or misapplication of funds by a bank officer or employee.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made is court:

Chon was employed by BankAsiana, a federally insured financial institution, as an operations officer and later as an assistant vice president and operations officer at the bank’s Fort Lee branch until the bank was acquired by Wilshire Bank in October 2013. Chon had access to customer accounts and the bank’s internal account records, computer system and vault. Over several years, Chon stole more than $1 million from BankAsiana’s customer accounts by regularly making unauthorized transfers from customer certificate of deposit (CD) accounts into BankAsiana’s vault cash account and then physically removing cash from the bank’s vault.

BankAsiana’s successor began an internal investigation after a customer found problems with the customer’s tax forms and account records. The bank discovered that Chon had accessed BankAsiana’s computer systems using her unique account access credentials on multiple occasions in order to make unauthorized transfers from customer CDs to the bank’s vault account and then removing the cash. Chon had avoided detection by making false entries in the bank’s records and by taking steps to transfer money back into customer CDs before they were set to reach maturity. She would transfer funds from newer CDs at the bank into maturing CDs that were short funds as a result of her having previously transferred money out of them.

Chon accomplished this scheme on dozens of occasions, typically taking tens of thousands of dollars at a time. One time, she converted $100,000 from a customer’s CD account. Bank records further show that during just one week between Sept. 27, 2013 and Oct. 4, 2013, Chon’s last day working at the bank, she made multiple unauthorized transfers from customer accounts in amounts totaling approximately $1.2 million to cover losses in other customer accounts that she had previously looted as part of the scheme. According to the successor bank’s investigation, the scheme resulted in a $1.4 million loss to the bank.

Chon faces a maximum potential sentence of 30 years in prison on each count and a fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the scheme, as well as mandatory restitution in the full amount of the loss to the victim bank.

U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel, with the investigation leading to today’s indictment.

The charges in the indictment against Chon are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Murphy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Unit.

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