Ringleader of Bank Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme Sentenced to Prison
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Dae Hyuck Ko, aka James Ko, aka Minghua Hong, 59, was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Ko was also ordered to pay forfeiture and restitution in the amount of approximately $3 million.
Ko was convicted at trial on Jan. 13. According to court documents, 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.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Maria L. Kelokates, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Washington Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grace L. Hill and Kosta S. Stojilkovic prosecuted 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.