Four Members Of Large-Scale Identity Theft Ring Sentenced

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NEWARK – Four members of a large-scale and sophisticated identity theft scheme have been sentenced to prison terms for their respective roles in the fraud, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Yoon-Hee Park, 57, of Flushing, N.Y., was sentenced Wednesdy by the U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden to 54 months in prison. Park was also sentenced to two years supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $423,367. Byung Jang, 47, of Fort Lee was sentenced by Hayden to 48 months in prison, two years supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $295,215. On Nov. 1, 2011, both defendants pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to unlawfully produce identification documents and to commit credit card fraud and one count each of aggravated identity theft.

On Feb. 15, Hayden sentenced Kyung-Ki Kim, 51, of Edison, to 11 months’ in prison and ordered him to pay $74,864.65 in restitution. On Nov. 1, 2011, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully produce identification documents and to commit credit card fraud. Hayden sentenced Sung-Rok Joh, 54, Palisades Park, to six months in prison and six months home confinement and ordered him to pay $79,333. On July 12, 2010, Joh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully produce an identification document and to commit credit card fraud

Yoon-Hee Park, Byung Jang, Kyung-Ki Kim, and Sung-Rok Joh were arrested on Sept. 16, 2010, in a coordinated law enforcement takedown of 53 individuals in connection with widespread, sophisticated identity theft and fraud, including 40 other individuals charged with participating in one large-scale criminal enterprise.

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

Sang-Hyun Park, a/k/a “Jimmy,” is alleged to have been the leader of a criminal organization headquartered in Bergen County, that obtained, brokered, and sold identity documents to customers for the purpose of committing credit card fraud, bank fraud and tax fraud. As part of the scheme, the Park Criminal Enterprise obtained Social Security cards beginning with the prefix “586.” Social Security cards with that prefix were issued by the United States to individuals, usually from China, who were employed in American territories, such as American Samoa, Guam, and Saipan. The Park Criminal Enterprise sold these Social Security cards to its customers and then escorted the customers to various states to use the cards to obtain identification cards and driver’s licenses.

The Park Criminal Enterprise then engaged in the fraudulent “build up” of credit scores associated with these fraudulently obtained identities. They did so by adding the identity as an authorized user to the credit card accounts of various co-conspirators who received a fee for this service – members of the enterprise’s credit build-up teams. By attaching the identities to these existing credit card accounts, the teams increased the credit scores associated with the identities to between 700 and 800. The members of the build-up teams knew neither the real person to whom the identity belonged nor virtually any of the customers who had purchased the identities.

After building the credit associated with these identities, Park and his co-conspirators directed, coached, and assisted his customers to open bank accounts and obtain credit cards. Park and his co-conspirators then used these accounts and credit cards to commit fraud. In particular, Park relied on several collusive merchants who possessed credit card processing, or swipe, machines. For a fee, known as a “kkang fee,” these collusive merchants charged the fraudulently obtained credit cards, although no transaction took place. After receiving the money into their merchant accounts from the credit card elated to these fraudulent transactions, the collusive merchants gave the money to Park and his co-conspirators, minus their “kkang fee.”

Yoon-Hee Park, Byung Jang, and Kyung-Ki Kim, and Sung-Rok Joh were customers of the Park Criminal Enterprise. Sang-Hyun Park pleaded guilty on Jan. 9 and is awaiting sentencing.

As for the other alleged 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.

Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark; IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn Zuniga; the 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 the sentencings.


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