Former Assistant Vice President Of Bank Admits Embezzling More Than $1 Million
NEWARK, N.J. - A Bergen County, New Jersey, woman today admitted embezzling more than $1 million while she worked at a bank in Fort Lee, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Miye Chon, a/k/a/ “Karen Chon,” 36, of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls to Count One, Count Two, and Count 29 of a superseding indictment charging her with bank fraud, embezzlement or misapplication of funds by a bank officer or employee, and aggravated identity theft.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Chon was employed by BankAsiana, a federally insured financial institution, as an operations officer and later as an assistant vice president and operations officer at the bank’s Fort Lee branch until the bank was acquired by Wilshire Bank in October 2013. Chon had access to customer accounts and the bank’s internal account records, computer system and vault. Over several years, Chon stole more than $1 million from BankAsiana’s customer accounts by regularly making unauthorized transfers from customer certificate of deposit (CD) accounts into BankAsiana’s vault cash account and then physically removing cash from the bank’s vault.
Chon accomplished this scheme on dozens of occasions, typically taking tens of thousands of dollars at a time. One time, she converted $100,000 from a customer’s CD account. As part of the scheme, Chon also opened up a bank account in an individual’s name and forged checks using that individual’s name without permission.
For the bank fraud and embezzlement charges, Chon faces a maximum potential sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, as well as mandatory restitution in the full amount of the loss to the victim bank. Chon also faces a two-year mandatory sentence on the aggravated identity theft charge that must be served consecutive to any other term of imprisonment, as well as a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for June 29, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Shapiro and Lakshmi Srinivasan Herman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Unit.
Today’s plea is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov
Defense counsel: Matthew Jeon, Esq., Fort Lee