News and Press Releases

Twenty-Two charged for multi-state scheme to obtain real driver’s licenses with fraudulent documents



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2012


 

Criminal Enterprise Allegedly Provided Illegal Aliens and Others with Stolen Immigration Documents, Falsified Visas, Passports, Utility Bills and Bank Statements

NEWARK, N.J. – Charges against 22 individuals were unsealed today and arrests were made in six states in connection with an alleged scheme to fraudulently obtain driver’s licenses for illegal aliens and other ineligible individuals, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward announced.

Federal agents have made 17 arrests in New Jersey, New York, California, Nevada, Virginia, and Georgia – including a contract employee of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) charged with stealing and providing forms used to aid in the scheme. The charged criminal operation allegedly provided a suite of unlawful services to individuals illegally residing in the United States, including fraudulently obtaining driver’s licenses, and investor and student visas.

The federally charged defendants arrested in New Jersey are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court. Those arrested in other states will have initial appearances in local federal courts.

“Today’s charged conspiracy included brokers across the country who recruited and served customers looking for a valid driver’s license to legitimize their illegal presence in the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “By allegedly shepherding illegal aliens through the application process and providing them with counterfeit documentation, the defendants enabled their customers to gain access to all the credibility that a driver’s license affords. Strong immigration enforcement includes guarding against those who subvert the safeguards designed to keep us secure.”

“By gaining access to protected, blank government immigration forms, the subjects in this case were able to utilize sophisticated computer software to create false identity documents and subsequently move to receive legitimate driver’s licenses,” said Special Agent in Charge Ward. “In doing so, they were able to circumvent established safeguards and proper vetting put into place post 9/11. The exploitation of this vulnerability is significant because identity-type frauds are a gateway crime. Seldom are they the end game. Individuals with falsely obtained identities are more likely to commit financial frauds, walk away from legal obligations, and are more difficult for law enforcement to identify and investigate.”

According to the Complaints unsealed today:

Young-Kyu Park, formerly a resident of Fort Lee, N.J., and currently a resident of Los Angeles, was the leader of a criminal enterprise (“the Park Criminal Enterprise”) operating in Palisades Park and Fort Lee, N.J., as well as in other states.

The Park Criminal Enterprise illegally obtained driver’s licenses genuinely issued by New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Nevada, and elsewhere. To do so, it acquired, created, and counterfeited a variety of documents for sale to customers. Members of the Park Criminal Enterprise also escorted customers to various state motor vehicle agencies and coached them through obtaining the licenses. In return, customers each paid the Park Criminal Enterprise a fee of approximately $3,000 to $4,500 for the unlawful services.

In particular, Young-Kyu Park fraudulently obtained, completed and sold genuine I-797 forms for customers to use to get licenses. An I-797 form is used by the federal government – including USCIS, a division of the Department of Homeland Security – to communicate with others or convey an immigration benefit. State agencies that issue driver’s licenses rely on these forms to verify the authenticity of an applicant’s foreign passport and to verify the applicant’s lawful presence in the United States. One version of this form can be used to show eligibility for in-state college tuition.

The Park Criminal Enterprise also altered and counterfeited other immigration documents, including passports, and created and provided fictitious documents to customers – such as fictitious utility bills and bank statements used to establish residency requirements. In furtherance of the scheme, Young-Kyu Park and his co-conspirators fraudulently extended expired Korean passports of individuals without legal status in the United States so they could obtain driver’s licenses. These illegal services were, at times, advertised in Korean newspapers and online with headings such as, “New Jersey Driver’s License.”

Young-Kyu Park obtained blank I-797 forms from Karine Michmichian and Martin Trejo, a USCIS contract employee working at the USCIS’ Western Forms Center in Montclair, Calif. – the United States’ largest warehouse storage facility for these forms. At various times, Young-Kyu Park ordered the forms from Michmichian, who contacted Trejo.

For example, on Feb. 2, 2012, Young-Kyu Park called a cell phone used by Michmichian. Approximately two minutes later she sent a text message to a cell phone used by Trejo, stating, “Need 200 (A) call me asap, please, valentines is coming,” – an alleged reference to the purchase of approximately 200 I-797A forms.

Young-Kyu Park then used a computer to print customers’ information onto the blank, stolen forms.

The Park Criminal Enterprise maintained a network of co-conspirators in New Jersey, Nevada, Georgia, and Virginia that met with customers. Young-Kyu Park often communicated with his co-conspirators in various states through email. For example, on Nov. 3, 2011, Young-Kyu Park sent an email to a cooperating witness, stating, “Not sure if [you] have received [the customer’s] passport from Director Kim [Ki-Sok Kim]. Must receive the passport and extend it. When extending passport . . . [sic] set the period to 11/3/2011-11/2/2016 . . [sic] issue date should be 11/2/2011.” In the same email, Young-Kyu Park directed the cooperating witness to then send the altered passport, via Federal Express, to Ho-man Lee, a co-conspirator in Alexandria, Va., who helped customers to illegally get licences in that state.

Members of the Park Criminal Enterprise, including Young-Kyu Park’s wife, Soong-Young Park, and his daughter, Hanna Park, laundered the proceeds of the illegal operation to distribute the proceeds and conceal the scheme.

The criminal Complaint charges the following offenses:

Count One charges the named defendants with conspiracy to unlawfully produce identification documents (driver’s licenses) and false identification documents (passports). The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Count Two charges the named defendants with conspiracy to steal government property and to transport and receive stolen property in interstate commerce. The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Count Three charges the named defendants with conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A chart appended to this release identifies the defendants and the offenses with which they are each charged.

* * *

U.S. Attorney Fishman praised the work of special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ward, in the investigation of this case – along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Andrew M. McLees; the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge Gregory K. Null of the Philadelphia field office; and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, under the direction of New Jersey District Director John E. Thompson.

U.S. Attorney Fishman noted the invaluable work of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, under the direction of Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez, in facilitating the investigation; and praised the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, for providing the manpower for a vital investigative role throughout. He also thanked the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Colonel Joseph R. Fuentes, for its substantial assistance.

Also thanked were the FBI field offices in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Atlanta, and Richmond, Va., as well as U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Nevada and the Central District of California for their support of this case and today’s operation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Moscato and Lisa M. Colone of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

12-244

Young-Kyu Park, et al. Mag. No. 12-7168 (CLW))


Name

Age

Residence

Charge(s)

Young-Kyu Park

54

Los Angeles

Count 1

Count 2

Count 3

Soong-Young Park

56

Los Angeles

Count 1

Count 3

Hanna Park

29

Los Angeles

Count 1

Count 3

Hyeun-Jin Park

31

Las Vegas

Count 1

Count 3

Yang-Gon Kim

30

Los Angeles

Count 1

Jong-Hyek Park

34

Las Vegas

Count 1

Ki-Sok Kim

54

Tenafly, N.J.

Count 1

Joon-Sang Lee

37

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Count 1

Boo Park

42

Cliffside Park, N.J.

Count 1

Count 3

Huong K. Shin

46

Palisades Park, N.J.

Count 1

Ho-Man Lee

41

Alexandria, Va.

Count 1

Count 3

Samuel H. Park

58

Norcross, Ga.

Count 1

Jong-Ho Kim

26

Annandale, Va.

Count 1

Kae-Won Jho

45

Duluth, Ga.

Count 1

Young-Bae Gu

46

Las Vegas

Count 1

Count 3

Hai-Sok Cho

61

Cliffside Park

Count 1

Yong-Hae Kim

66

Palisades Park

Count 1

Sung-Kum Choi

48

Fort Lee, N.J.

Count 1

Jong-Hyuk Park

45

Leonia, N.J.

Count 1

Sung-Hee Bae

50

Ridgefield, N.J.

Count 1

Martin Trejo

45

Rialto, Calif.

Count 2

Karine Michmichian

39

Studio City, Calif.

Count 2

Park, Young-Kyu et. al. Complaint

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