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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 21, 2019

Korean National Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Role In Foreign Exchange Trading Scam

More than 400 investors lost more than $60 Million

OAKLAND – Jin K. Chung was sentenced to 120 months in prison for money laundering, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Jeffrey S. White, U.S. District Judge.

On September 3, 2019, Chung, 56, of Seoul, Korea, pleaded guilty to laundering money he obtained from a foreign exchange trading scam.  According to his guilty plea, Chung acknowledged more than 400 victims lost approximately $60,302,886.59 as a result of the scam.  Chung admitted that, in 2003, he and codefendant Peter Son, 47, of Portland, Oregon, started two companies, SNC Asset Management, Inc., and SNC Investments, Inc., both headquartered in Pleasanton, California.  Chung admitted that he falsely advertised both companies as highly successful in foreign exchange trading.  Further, Chung promised potential investors they would receive annual investment returns of between 24% and 36%.  Chung knew that these representations were false and made with the intention of attracting individuals to invest in the two companies.  Chung acknowledged that hundreds of investors opened accounts and deposited money into the two companies based upon the fraudulent representations.  Chung and Son deposited the clients’ funds into bank accounts they controlled.  While directing employees of the companies to send monthly statements to the investors that falsely reported accrued earnings, Chung regularly cashed checks or arranged wire transfers in amounts over $10,000 for his own benefit.  By October 2008, the defendants depleted the funds in the companies’ accounts and closed both businesses without advance notice to employees or clients.

Chung originally was charged in connection with this scheme on May 29, 2009.  The defendant was extradited from the Republic of Korea in February of 2019.  Chung was charged by information on July 8, 2019.  The information alleged a single count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957.  Chung pleaded guilty to the charge.

Son is currently serving a prison term of 180 months for his role in the scheme.  On April 9, 2010, Son pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions with the proceeds of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1349 and 1956(h), respectively.  The Honorable D. Lowell Jensen, U.S. District Judge, ret., sentenced Son to the prison term on July 30, 2010, and on October 14, 2011, ordered Son to pay $60,302,886.59 in restitution to his victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan U. Lee is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Jessica Rodriguez Gonzalez and Kathleen Turner.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the FBI and the IRS.
 

Updated November 21, 2019