Los Angeles Business Journal

15 Charged in Bank Fraud Case

By James Rufus Koren Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Federal officials have charged 15 people, mostly from Los Angeles, with bank fraud in a $15 million check-kiting scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles announced Wednesday.

A dozen suspects in the case, which hit big banks during the past several years, were arrested Wednesday; the FBI is looking for three others. The suspects allegedly deposited fake checks into bank accounts then immediately withdrew the funds, leaving banks with a loss.

Some of the suspects allegedly created the fake checks, others deposited them, while others solicited bank customers to let them use their accounts, according to a federal grand jury indictment.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and JPMorgan Chase were listed as victims of the fraud, though other banks were also hit, said Mark Aveis, an assistant U.S. Attorney. He said he could not name other affected banks because the investigation is ongoing.

Those named in the indictment are:

Jae Ho Chung, 44, of Westwood

Michael Yeon Cho, 30, of Pacific Palisades

Roger Lee, 48, of Cerritos;

Kun Young Lee, 51, of Koreatown

Jeong Gu Kim, 53, of Los Angeles

Hak Soo Shim, 40, of Newport Beach

Renling “Mark Ling” Chao, 50, of Brentwood

Il Hwan Jae, 60, of Koreatown

Erick Palafox, 28, of Lynwood

Jae Kwon An, 42, of Riverside

Joonie Yeon Cho, 42, of Koreatown

Eun Ah Kim, aka Eun Ae Kim, 39, of Los Angeles

Hye Ran Lee, 30, of Irvine

Hee Jung Lee, 41, of Riverside

Woo Chang Lim, 36, of Ventura

The three who were not arrested Wednesday. Jae Ho Chung, Roger Lee, and Hye Ran Lee are considered fugitives, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the IRS and the Pomona Police Department with assistance from other law enforcement agencies in the regions.