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Press Release

Former Honolulu Resident Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A former resident of Honolulu pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to defraud the IRS by fraudulently obtaining a tax refund and then thwarting efforts to recoup it.  

According to court documents and statements made in court, Sook Young Jung conspired with others to file a false 2015 individual income tax return in her name. As part of the conspiracy, Jung’s co-conspirators created a fake tax form purportedly issued by a mortgage lender to Jung, which Jung attached to her return. The form falsely reported that Jung withheld over $1.7 million in taxes. As a result of this fraudulent submission, the IRS paid Jung a refund of $1,147,036.

After filing the false tax return and submitting the fake tax form, Jung took steps to try and ensure that the IRS could not recover the fraudulently obtained refund. For example, she deposited the refund check into a newly opened bank account and immediately withdrew most of the funds in cashier’s checks. She also paid, through nominees, one of her co-conspirators $500,000 for the co-conspirator’s assistance in obtaining the fraudulent refund.

Jung is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. She also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Clare E. Connors for the District of Hawaii made the announcement.

IRS Criminal Investigation, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and FBI are investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Sarah Kiewlicz and Sara Henderson of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Paris Yates for the District of Hawaii are prosecuting the case.

Updated March 21, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-330