North Jersey Real Estate Developer Admits Soliciting Bribe To Palisades Park Official
NEWARK, N.J. – A real estate developer and landlord of commercial buildings in Palisades Park, New Jersey, today admitted soliciting a $50,000 bribe payment to a Palisades Park borough official, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Chung S. Kho, 68, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of using facilities in interstate commerce to promote bribery.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Beginning in October 2010, Kho met with an individual (“Individual #1”) who sought to open a karaoke business at a multi-unit commercial building in Palisades Park owned by Kho. During the initial discussions between Kho and Individual #1 about opening the karaoke business, Kho guaranteed that there would be no problem in obtaining a change-of-use approval from Palisades Park to operate a karaoke business at the location.
Kho admitted today that, between October and December 2010, he used his cellphone to facilitate the offer of a bribe payment by Individual #1 to a borough official in Palisades Park for a favorable decision by the borough official regarding the change-of-use request. According to Kho, that offer involved a payment of $30,000 to obtain approval for one karaoke business and $50,000 to obtain approval for two karaoke businesses. Individual #1 initially was hesitant to make the payment. By the time Individual #1 agreed to pay the bribe, Kho informed him that it was too late to make the payment.
The charge of using facilities in interstate commerce to promote bribery carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for July 18, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Newark Division, Garret Mountain Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher; special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi; and special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacques S. Pierre of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Edward T. Kang, Esq., Alston & Bird LLP