FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County resident pleaded guilty today to conspiring to fraudulently provide a United States social security card, a California driver’s license and a counterfeit Korean passport, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Yu-Je Jo, 37, of Cliffside Park, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an Information that charged him with conspiring to unlawfully produce identification documents. Jo was arrested on September 16, 2010, in a coordinated law enforcement takedown of 53 individuals in connection with widespread, sophisticated identity theft and fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for August 17, 2011.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in federal court:
Jo and a co-conspirator with the initials J.N.K. were identity document brokers who conspired with each other and others to sell identity documents, such as social security cards, driver’s licenses, and counterfeit passports, for the purpose of committing fraud.
In August 2010, as part of their scheme, Jo and J.N.K. conspired to provide a genuine but fraudulently issued United States social security card and California driver’s license, and a counterfeit Korean passport to another person. Jo admitted that he and J.N.K. agreed to sell a genuinely issued United States social security card and a counterfeit Korean passport to a person they believed to be a customer but who was in fact a confidential informant. Jo told the confidential informant that he could travel to California and use the fraudulently obtained social security card and counterfeit Korean passport to obtain a California driver’s license. Jo told the confidential informant that he could use these fraudulently obtained identity documents to engage in credit card fraud, bank fraud, and other frauds. Jo agreed to sell the identity documents for approximately $14,000. Jo admitted that the confidential informant made an initial $4,000 cash payment and a subsequent $3,000 cash payment for those documents.
As part of his plea agreement, Jo agreed to a forfeiture judgment in the amount of $558,635, representing the proceeds of his fraudulent activity. At sentencing, Jo faces a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special
Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark; IRS – Criminal Investigations, under the direction
of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff; the Department of Homeland Security’s
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Peter T.
Edge; 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. Attorney Barbara R. Llanes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark and Anthony Moscato of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
Defense Attorney: Paul B. Brickfield, Esq.