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Press Release

Korean National Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Crimes Ranging from Identity Theft to Illegal Firearm Possession

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Defendant Defrauded IRS and Used Fake Identity Documents

          A Korean national who had been deported from the U.S. and then returned using falsified documents to commit additional fraud was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to four years in prison and $49,815 in restitution, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  CHONG HWA LIM aka Jong Wha Rim, 64 of Federal Way, Washington, was arrested April 14, 2015 in connection with a bank fraud investigation.  LIM had been deported from the U.S. in 1995 for alien smuggling and making false statements to a Border Agent.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said he had “a significant degree of concern about items found in the search of LIM’s apartment…. They raise concerns about the defendant’s true motives.”

            According to records filed in the case, LIM pleaded guilty in December 2015 to Illegal Reentry after Deportation, Forgery and False Use of a Passport, being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, and Aggravated Identity Theft.  When law enforcement searched LIM’s Federal Way apartment in April 2015 they found  high-end identity device making equipment; police equipment; counterfeit identifications, credit cards and immigration documents; hundreds of new Social Security cards; a loaded .380 Beretta handgun; an unloaded Mossberg 500 12-gauge shotgun; and a binder containing names, social security numbers, and other identifying information for taxpayers (real and fake) used by the conspirators when filing fraudulent tax returns.  LIM and his coconspirators had submitted false tax returns under the names of other people and obtained more than $49,000 in fraudulent refunds.  LIM also used a fake Korean passport to obtain a Washington State driver’s license in a false name.

            The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), the Kent Police Department, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). 

          The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca Cohen and Special Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Diggs.  Mr. Diggs is an attorney with the Social Security Administration specially designated to prosecute fraud cases in federal court.

Updated March 18, 2016

Identity Theft
Project Safe Neighborhoods