Search This Blog

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bank alleges employees stole $1.6 million in New Jersey

Two former BankAsiana employees are denying accusations made by the acquirer of the Palisades Park-based community bank that between 2010 and October 2013 they embezzled nearly $1.6 million.

Los Angeles-based Wilshire Bank’s civil lawsuit, filed in federal court in Newark, has prompted counterclaims of "baseless" and "malicious" prosecution by defendants Miye "Karen" Chon of Englewood Cliffs, a former assistant vice president in BankAsiana’s Fort Lee branch, and co-defendant Suk Joon "James S." Ryu of River Vale, a former chief operating officer of BankAsiana.

Lawyers for Wilshire Bank and Chon said Tuesday that they would not comment on the litigation.

In court papers, Chon denies she stole money from the bank’s vault.

Ryu denied he was involved in any embezzlement scheme, and alleged that "Chon intentionally made a false statement that he was involved … probably for the purpose of reducing her obvious liability in this scheme."

Ryu also is countersuing Chon for "malicious conduct" and "making false statements."

"My client is very innocent," Ryu’s Fort Lee attorney, Jungsup Kim, said Tuesday by phone.

The legal wrangling that began in March is entering the discovery phase this week, where plaintiffs and defendants will gather documents and take depositions from witnesses. The litigation is likely to drag on for months, the lawyers say.

Wilshire’s initial complaint alleged Chon, aided and abetted by Ryu, periodically took cash from the bank’s vault between 2010 and October 2013 and deducted the amounts from unwitting customers’ certificate-of-deposit accounts.

False withdrawal records and funds transfers from other customers’ accounts were alleged to have been created to cover up the thefts in the "lapping" scheme.

According to Wilshire, records related to seven customer CD accounts were falsified.

Wilshire claims that stolen cash was shared by Chon, Ryu and Chon’s husband, Tae Jong Kim, and his bagel companies, which include Bergenfield Bagel & Cafe Inc., Maywood Bagel Inc., UB’s Pizza & Bagel Inc., UB’s Bagel & Cafe Inc. and UBK Bagels Corp.

The initial complaint named BankAsiana’s former chief executive officer, Hong Sik Hur of Cliffside Park, as a defendant, alleging that he failed to properly oversee BankAsiana, and that he took a company computer and failed to immediately return a company car after he was fired "for cause" by Wilshire in February.

Under a requirement in his employment contract, those allegations are being handled separately, in an arbitration process.

 Federal prosecutors say a former assistant vice president at a northern New Jersey bank has been charged in a scheme to embezzle more than $1 million.
Miye Chon, who also is known as “Karen Chon,” turned herself in to the FBI on Tuesday and was due to make her initial court appearance later in the day. The 34-year-old Englewood Cliffs resident is charged with theft, embezzlement or misapplication of funds by a bank officer or employee.
Prosecutors say Chon was employed by BankAsiana until it was acquired by another bank in October 2013.
Chon was an operations officer and later an assistant vice president at the bank’s Fort Lee branch. She had access to customer accounts, as well as the bank’s internal account records, computer system and vault.
Over the course of several years, Chon allegedly stole more than $1 million by regularly making unauthorized transfers among accounts, and then physically removing cash from the bank’s vault.
BankAsiana’s successor bank began an internal investigation after a customer found problems with tax forms and account records. Prosecutors say the successor bank discovered that Chon, using her unique credentials, accessed BankAsiana’s computer systems on multiple occasions to make unauthorized transfers.
Chon allegedly avoided detection by making false entries in the bank’s records and ensuring that funds she removed from accounts were transferred back.
Chon allegedly embezzled funds on dozens of occasions, typically taking tens of thousands of dollars at a time.
She faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted

No comments:

Post a Comment