Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Federal Grand Jury Indicts Orange County Attorney on Charges of Wire Fraud, Money Laundering
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles yesterday indicted an Orange County attorney on charges of wire fraud and money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The indictment accuses Stephen Young Kang, 46, of taking millions of dollars in client funds for his personal use. It charges Kang with 20 counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering.
Kang was arrested by special agents with the FBI and IRS on Aug. 10 at Los Angeles International Airport as he attempted to board a flight to Seoul, Korea. Kang is currently free on a $750,000 secured bond.
According to the indictment, Kang defrauded a Gardena-based food distribution company, Ottogi America, Inc., which hired him to help the company purchase additional properties near its distribution center.
Between October 2012 and March 2014, Ottogi wired approximately $3.7 million to a trust account in Houston, Texas, to be used for the purchase of the properties, only to have the bulk of the money diverted to other accounts the attorney controlled.
Kang is also accused of having Kang agreed to provide legal and investment services to a married couple who wanted to invest money that would help them obtain EB-5 visas, which require the applicant to invest at least $500,000 in a commercial enterprise that creates or preserves at least 10 permanent, full-time jobs.
The indictment alleges that these victims wired more than $1 million to Kang in 2011, but Kang failed to invest the money as promised. Instead, Kang used the funds for personal and business expenses, as well as to pay other individuals who previously invested money with him.
When the victims demanded the return of their investment, Kang allegedly concealed the fraud by using money he received from other clients, including Ottogi, to repay a portion of their investment.
Kang is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on Sept. 8. Prosecutors said he faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each of the wire fraud charges and up to 10 years in prison for each of the money laundering offenses.
State Bar records show that Kang is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the South Texas College of Law in Houston, and that he has no history of discipline.
Kang did not return a MetNews phone call late yesterday.
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