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.