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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Ringleader of Bank Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Dae Hyuck Ko, aka James Ko, aka Minghua Hong, 59, was convicted yesterday evening by a federal jury on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, 19 counts of bank fraud, and four counts of aggravated identity theft.

Ko was indicted on June 24, 2015, and a superseding indictment was returned on Dec. 22, 2015.  According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Ko was the leader and organizer of a sophisticated bank fraud and identity theft scheme that targeted banks and individual victims throughout the nation.  The victims, like Ko and the co-conspirators he recruited, were of Korean ethnicity.  Ko directed his co-conspirators to open numerous checking accounts, credit accounts, and personal lines of credit using the stolen identities of these victims.  Ko then directed the complicated movement of money between these accounts to build up a banking history, which ultimately enabled him to deposit bad checks and cash out those accounts before the checks failed to clear.  Ko enforced his control of the conspiracy through violence when necessary, including by having one co-conspirator beaten and sent to the emergency room with a broken nose and fractured eye socket.  Three of Ko’s co-conspirators—Jaejoon Song, Jungtaek Kim, and Minho Yang—have previously pleaded guilty in the case and have been sentenced to 66, 40, and 33 months, respectively.

Ko will be sentenced on April 29, 2016, and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on each of the bank fraud and conspiracy charges, as well as a mandatory consecutive two years in prison on at least one of the aggravated identity theft charges.   The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Maria Kelokates, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Washington Division, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grace L. Hill and Kosta S. Stojilkovic are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15-cr-109.

Updated January 14, 2016

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft