FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, N.J., man today admitted he conspired with others to fraudulently obtain three commercial loans totaling more than $100,000, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Hong G. Cho, 55, of Ridgefield, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Beginning in 2007, Cho conspired with Chun-O Kim to fraudulently obtain three commercial loans from banks with branches in Bergen County, N.J. Cho and Kim applied for lines of credit and commercial loans on behalf of JJ Auto Accessories, a fictitious company. Kim prepared and submitted to the banks false loan applications and fabricated bank statements and financial records, federal income tax returns, and other documents to trick the banks into issuing the loans.
In March 2007, Cho made a loan application on behalf of JJ Auto Accessories to TD Bank in Bergen County. It falsely stated that Cho’s wife owned the business and that the business’ income in 2006 was $419,016. Based on these false representations, TD Bank issued a commercial loan of $50,000 to Cho. Around the same time, Cho applied for a loan on behalf of JJ Auto from PNC Bank in Bergen County. This loan application falsely stated that Cho’s wife owned the business and that the business’ annual sales in 2006 had been $700,000. Based on these false representations, PNC Bank issued a commercial loan in the approximate amount of $50,000. In May 2007, Cho also fraudulently obtained a $15,000 commercial loan from Citibank in Bergen County. Cho used portions of these loan disbursements to pay personal expenses. Each loan went into default, resulting in losses to the banks.
On Dec. 20, 2011, Judge Wigenton sentenced Kim to 65 months in prison and ordered her to pay $1,134,950 in restitution.
On the count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, Cho faces maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, or twice the pecuniary gain or victim loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 13, 2012. U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General, Eastern Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron Collins; detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor John L. Molinelli and the Office’s Chief of Detectives Steven Cucciniello, and detectives and officers from the Englewood Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Arthur O’Keefe, for the investigation leading to today’s plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jane Yoon and Anthony Moscato, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Marc E. Leibman Esq., Fort Lee, N.J.