FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – A loan broker from Edgewater, N.J., admitted today to stealing identities and fraudulently obtaining commercial loans and credit cards for personal profit, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Chun-O Kim, 45, of Edgewater, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to an Information charging her with one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud; possessing 15 or more unauthorized credit cards with intent to defraud; and aggravated identity theft. Kim was arrested on September 16, 2010, in a coordinated law enforcement takedown of 53 individuals in connection with widespread, sophisticated identity theft and fraud.
According to documents filed in this and related cases and statements made in Newark federal court:
Kim was the principal of CB Development Company, a fictitious company that she and her co-conspirators used to commit bank fraud. Kim admitted that she conspired with others, including Joseph Park, 34, of Bronx, N.Y., to make and use false and counterfeit documents to obtain lines of credit and commercial loans for herself and her co-conspirators.
Kim and Park created false documents – such as counterfeit certificates of trade and fictitious tax returns – to trick banks into issuing commercial loans to Kim, Park, and their clients. In addition, Kim admitted that she obtained and used both genuine and counterfeit identity documents, such as social security numbers and driver’s licenses belonging to other individuals, to obtain lines of credit and commercial loans in those names. Many of these lines of credit and loans were guaranteed by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal agency of the U.S. government’s executive branch. The SBA provides assistance to small businesses by guaranteeing loans issued by certain banks.
In total, defendant Chun-O Kim and her co-conspirators defrauded financial institutions in Bergen County, N.J., and elsewhere of more than $1.2 million. After obtaining the money, Kim and her co-conspirators transferred the funds into their bank accounts so they could withdraw the cash and write checks.
Kim also admitted that she used the identity of another person to fraudulently obtain a commercial loan and that she possessed over 20 fraudulent credit cards in order to, among other things, make purchases with no intention of paying the bills.
Park pleaded guilty before Judge Wigenton on March 2, 2011, to an Information charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He awaits sentencing.
Nathan C. Buschman, 32, of Hopatcong, N.J., was the manager of a Washington Mutual Bank branch in Edgewater, N.J., that later became JP Morgan Chase Bank. Buschman falsified loan documents which enabled Kim, Park, and their co-conspirators to obtain SBA loans without bank scrutiny. He pleaded guilty before Judge Wigenton on May 11, 2011, to an Information charging him with one count of making false documents to and concealing material facts from the SBA. He awaits sentencing.
At sentencing, Kim faces a 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 on the bank fraud conspiracy charge; a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the pecuniary gain or victim loss from the offense on the credit card fraud charge; and a mandatory minimum term of two years in prison on the identity theft charge, to be consecutive to any other sentence. Kim’s plea agreement also requires her to forfeit $1,230,546 to the United States. She is currently scheduled to be sentenced on November 22, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Fishman praised 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 their work 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: Paul Brickfield Esq., River Edge, N.J.