HOUSTON – Five individuals have been taken into custody for their roles in a $13 million fraud and money laundering conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
The final man charged - William Warren Stredney, 65 - has now surrendered to federal authorities. He is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Bray at 2 p.m. today.
Authorities arrested Edward Seung Ok, 56, Soran Lim, 55, Anthony Seung Ok, 55, and Wes Moon Ok, 52, in California Sept. 8. All are currently in custody pending further criminal proceedings.
A federal grand jury returned the eight-count indictment Aug. 31. It alleges Edward Seung Ok and Anthony Seung Ok, both of Rolling Hills Estates, California; Lim, Villa Park, California; and Wes Moon Ok, Los Angeles, California, committed one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Stredney, Peoria, Arizona, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six counts of wire fraud.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy involved a scheme to defraud clients of Bluebell International LLC and Bluebell National LLC which included a Houston-based energy company. Edward Ok and the others falsely claimed they had the ability to provide billions of dollars in loans because they were connected to high net worth international family offices, according to the allegations.
They allegedly charged their clients large upfront fees to apply for the loans knowing they had no intention of providing them. The indictment alleges they diverted the monies for their own personal use.
Edward Ok, Soran Lim, Anthony Ok and Wes Ok then allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to launder the fraudulent proceeds for the purchase of expensive real estate and luxury items. On the date of the arrests, authorities also seized over $1.2 million from a bank account, high-end items alleged to have been purchased with the fraudulent proceeds to include two multi-million dollar homes and a condominium as well as multiple vehicles such as two McLarens, a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche and BMW.
The indictment also alleges Edward Ok committed the offense while incarcerated in prison with the assistance of the others.
Conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a possible sentence of up to five years in federal prison, while convictions of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering have 20-year possible terms of imprisonment.
The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Justin R. Martin is prosecuting the case. AUSA Brandon Fyffe is handling forfeiture matters.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.