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Bergen county, n.J., man admits to taking part in large-Scale identity theft ring



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2012


 

NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County N.J., man admitted his role in producing and using fraudulent documents as part of a large-scale and sophisticated identity theft scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Hyun-Yop Sung, a/k/a “James,” 43, of Carlstadt, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz to an Information charging him with conspiracy to unlawfully produce an identification document and commit credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Sung was arrested Sept. 16, 2010, in a coordinated law enforcement takedown of 53 individuals in connection with widespread, sophisticated identity theft and fraud, including 41 other individuals charged in connection with one large-scale criminal enterprise. Sung was detained pending the outcome of this matter.

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

Sung conspired with Sang-Hyun Park, a/k/a “Jimmy,” and others to obtain 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. Park 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, tax fraud, and other crimes. Park pleaded guilty on Jan. 9, 2012, to his role in the enterprise.

The Park Criminal Enterprise engaged in the fraudulent “build-up” of credit scores associated with the Chinese identities. They did so by adding the Chinese 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 Chinese identities to these existing credit card accounts, the teams increased the credit scores associated with the Chinese 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. They then used these accounts and credit cards to commit fraud. 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.

Sung admitted that he was a customer of the Park Criminal Enterprise. Sung purchased a Social Security card with the 586 prefix in the name of an individual with the initials S.L. He then used they card and other documents to fraudulently obtain a driver’s license in Illinois. Sung used this fraudulently obtained identity to apply for and obtain credit cards from various banks and stores. Sung caused in excess of $120,000 in losses to banks, credit card companies, and others.

Sung faces maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the pecuniary gain or victim loss from the offense, on Count One (conspiracy), and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison on Count Two (aggravated identity theft charge) . Sentencing is scheduled for May 2, 2012.

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 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 Acting 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 today’s guilty pleas.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barbara R. Llanes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division and Anthony Moscato of the Office’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.

As for other 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.

12-028

Defense counsel: William Michael Murphy Jr. Esq. and Jason Orlando Esq., Jersey City

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