Seven individuals in two alleged fraud rings operating out of Flushing and Bayside were indicted by a grand jury last week on charges that they allegedly stole personal information of legitimate car buyers to purchase luxury cars – includes a Mercedes Benz, Lexus, and BMW, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said.
The arrests follow a two-year investigation that included months of court-authorized wiretaps, video and physical surveillance – as well as thousands of intercepted telephone calls, many of which required translation from Chinese and Korean to English, the DA said.
Six of the defendants are in custody, and the seventh defendant, Ki Bin Lim, is currently being sought.
Joung Duck Woo, 45, of Fresh Meadows; Ki Hun Kim, 45, of Flushing; Sang Hun Moon, 59, of Flushing; and Ki Bin Li, 52, of Fresh Meadows were variously charged with grand larceny, falsifying business records, identity theft, criminal possession of stolen property, forgery and scheme to defraud after they allegedly stole such personal information as social security cards, passports and driver licenses, from legitimate car buyers and used it to purchase seven luxury automobiles, Brown said.
“In one instance, it is alleged that they used the identity of a single individual three times to finance a Mercedes Benz, a BMW, and an Audi A6, saddling their victim with $189,471 in finance charges and the auto dealerships without their vehicles,” Brown said.
In a second alleged scheme, the DA said Jinuk Chong, 24, of Fresh Meadows; Kyeong Joon Kim, 53, of Flushing; and Dong Soo Kim, 60, of Flushing were variously charged with grand larceny, falsifying business records, forgery, and scheme to defraud after they allegedly participated in a credit card “bust out” scam. According to the DA, they allegedly used false identities to open accounts with banks and credit card companies, which they maintained for a long time in order to maximize their lines of credit before “busting out” the cards – or charging large amounts on the cards before abandoning the accounts without repaying the money they owed.
To set up the accounts, they allegedly used Social Security numbers beginning with the prefix “586,” which were issued by the U.S. government in the 1990s, usually to Chinese national who were employed in such American territories as Guam and American Samoa.
Those indicted “allegedly profited through utilizing information of actual victims and sometimes even fictitious identities,” Bratton said. “Thanks to the hard work of the investigators and prosecutors involved, these individuals will no longer be able to exploit information for their own personal gain.”