News and Press Releases

Used false Korean passports to open bank accounts and defraud banks

January 6, 2006

YOUNG HO CHANG, 54, of Los Angeles, California, was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud by U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess. CHANG admitted he joined with a man he knew as “Paul Lee” to defraud Bank of America branches in six states. CHANG was arrested in March of 2005 in Tacoma, Washington, while using false Korean passports to open private mailboxes that could be used in the bank fraud scheme. CHANG pleaded guilty on October 6, 2005.

According to court records, CHANG became involved in the scheme in October, 2003. CHANG’s role was to open bank accounts in various states under false identities, using false Korean passports provided by Lee. CHANG would deposit checks into these accounts, knowing that there were insufficient funds to cover the checks, and would then make withdrawals, resulting in losses to the banks. CHANG would also write checks from the accounts he opened, knowing that there were insufficient funds to cover the checks, also resulting in losses to the banks. Using this scheme, Bank of America branches were defrauded of $93,217. CHANG defrauded banks in Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Florida, Georgia and Illinois.

In asking for a prison term Assistant United States Attorney Michael Dion noted that for more than a year CHANG traveled from state to state, using the phony documentation to open up bank accounts. “Chang was clearly a sophisticated operator who devoted tremendous time and energy to carrying out this scheme,” Dion wrote to the court.

The investigation into others associated with the scheme remains open.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Dion.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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