Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Korean Air Lines Guam Office Manager Sentenced to 41 Months Imprisonment for Bank Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Districts of Guam & the Northern Mariana Islands

Hagatña, Guam – SHAWN N. ANDERSON, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that defendant Sung Peel Hwang a.k.a. Don Sung Peel Hwang, age 39, from the Republic of Korea and naturalized citizen of the United States, was sentenced to serve 41 months imprisonment.  He was charged with Bank Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(1) and Money Laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957.  The Court also ordered 5 years of supervised release, restitution of $615, 271.51 and a mandatory $200 special assessment fee. 

Beginning in September 2015 and continuing until December of 2018, Defendant Hwang engaged in a scheme to defraud his employer and to embezzle over $600,000.00. Hwang was an administrator in the Korean Air Lines (KAL) Guam office at the Guam International Airport. KAL operated commercial passenger flights between Guam and South Korea. All airlines operating out of GIAA are required to report the number of passengers on their flights and to pay a corresponding Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) to GIAA. As an administrator at the Guam KAL office, Hwang’s duties included reporting the number of passengers and paying the corresponding PFC, procuring, and paying for other office supplies and services, and acting as one of two co-signatories on KAL Guam’s business checking account at the Bank of Guam. As one part of his scheme, Defendant Hwang underreported the PFC owed to GIAA and kept the difference between the actual PFC owed and the PFC paid for himself. Over the course of the three-year scheme Defendant Hwang deposited over $3.5 million in KAL funds into his personal bank account and diverted over $600,000.00 in KAL funds to his own personal use.

“Hwang cheated his employer and GIAA out of a substantial sum of money,” stated United States Attorney Anderson.  “Fortunately, GIAA’s auditing procedures eventually revealed this scheme.  The sentence imposed by the Court is a strong message of accountability and deterrence.  I applaud our federal law enforcement partners for their hard work in bringing Hwang to justice.”

“The FBI is focused on addressing financial crimes that have an impact on our communities,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “This sentence should give pause to others who consider engaging in similar criminal conduct.”

“Mr. Hwang’s greed may have netted him a temporary windfall, but at great cost to those he stole from and to the detriment of his community,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Adam Jobes. “Today’s sentencing shows that CI is committed to fighting financial crime, and making sure that fraudsters pay the just cost for those crimes.”

The investigation was conducted by the FBI Guam Resident Agency and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. This case was prosecuted by Benjamin K. Petersburg, Assistant United States Attorney, District of Guam.


Carmela S. Rapadas, Public Information Officer

Email: | Office: 671.472.7332

Updated May 6, 2024

Financial Fraud