Seven members of two organized fraud rings based in Flushing and Bayside were indicted by a grand jury Thursday following a two-year investigation leading to the dismantlement of the operations, officials said.
In one scheme, personal information, including social security cards, passports and drivers licenses, were stolen from legitimate car buyers and used to purchase seven luxury automobiles, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. The information was taken from customers, while one of the alleged ring members, Joung Duck Woo, worked as an automobile broker. Woo, who knew four of the victims through his church, is accused of using the information to also open credit cards and other accounts.
The indicted members in the second ring are accused of participating in a credit card “bust out” scam, Brown said. They allegedly used social security numbers beginning with the prefix “586” issued by the government in U.S. territories, such as America Samoa and Guam, to set up fake credit card accounts. False identities were used to open bank and department store credit accounts online and in person to make purchases and cash withdrawals. They are also accused of busting out, or draining the available line of credit on each card.
Joung Duck Woo, 45, of Fresh Meadows, Ki Hun Kim, 45, of Flushing, Sang Hun Moon 59, of Flushing, and Ki Bin Lim, 52, of Fresh Meadows, are variously charged with grand larceny, falsifying business records, identity theft, criminal possession of stolen property, forgery and scheme to defraud in connection to the first scheme, according to one indictment. If convicted, each face up to 15 years in prison.
Of those indicted, Ki Bin Lim is still being sought, while the other three are in custody, officials said.
In a second indictment, Jinuk Chong, 24, of Fresh Meadows, Kyeong Joon Kim, 53, of Flushing, and Dong Soo Kim, 60, of Flushing, are variously charged with grand larceny, falsifying business records, forgery and scheme to defraud in connection to the “bust out.” If convicted, they each face up to seven years in prison.
Anyone who may have been a victim of these schemes should contact the district attorney’s Economics Crimes Bureau at 718-286-6673.