Settings

Home Site
Notification
Push Notifications
Contact Us
Fort Lee Daily Voice serves Fort Lee, Leonia & Palisades Park

Menu

Fort Lee Daily Voice serves Fort Lee, Leonia & Palisades Park

Nearby Towns

DV Pilot police & fire

Prison term for Palisades Park man in ID theft ‘crime superstore’

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Palisades Park man was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison today for his role in a Bergen County-based identity theft ring.

Crew members made millions by distributing counterfeit Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and passports for Asian immigrants in exchange for hefty fees.

They used the money and credit to buy booze, designer clothing and other merchandise that was easy to sell on the black market or to lease pricey cars — by Lexus and Mercedes, among others — they then sold after making only one payment.

Chul-Hoe Choi, 50, of Palisades Park, now remains in federal custody, where he has remained since pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark in June to aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and unlawfully producing an identification document.

Federal authorities said Choi with Sang-Hyun “Jimmy” Park and others to obtain Social Security cards beginning with the prefix “586” – which are usually issued to Asians employed in American Samoa, Guam, Saipan and other American territories.

The cases against them fell into place when investigators  tagged Yu-Je Jo, 37, as a broker in the enterprise. As part of his plea agreement, Jo agreed to forfeit $558,635 and to cooperate with the government in its investigation.

All were arrested last September in a coordinated law enforcement takedown of 53 people accused of participating in Park’s operation. The FBI led the charge, which include hundreds of local and state law enforcement officers.

Detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office got onto the trail after arresting Kang-Hyok Choi and charging him with killing an associate and two of the victim‘s family members in Tenafly in 2008. The men apparently had been arguing over how to split profits from the illicit enterprise.

During the investigation, prosecutor’s investigators seized a computer that led them directly to Park’s crew.

Investigators then plucked an unidentified co-conspirator who bought a genuinely issued U.S. Social Security card and a counterfeit Korean passport while working for the government.

After getting their hands on the Social Security cards — issued to Chinese nationals – Park and his crew then sold them for $5,000 to $7,000. Meanwhile, they obtained other identification, real and counterfeit, for their customers.

But it didn’t end there.

The group helped boost customers’ credit scores and had them obtain bank accounts and obtain lines of credit, as well as federally-insured loans, according to a complaint filed by the FBI with U.S. District Court in Newark.

They built up the credit scores, authorities said, by adding the identity to an authorized user who agreed to the scheme in return for a fee. Scores for the bogus IDs shot up to from 700 to 800 as a result.

Park and his co-conspirators also got collusive merchants to process credit card transactions through swipe machines even though none occurred. In exchange, the merchants got what’s known as a “kkang fee.”

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman called the scope of the fraud “pretty remarkable.”

He hailed agents from the FBI and IRS, as well as those from the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, whose detectives‘ work made the case possible.


MORE (*CLICK ON HEADLINES TO READ)*:

Leader of massive Bergen ID theft ring admits guilt

Tuesday, 29 November 2011 17:21 Jerry DeMarco

CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: Federal authorities secured a guilty plea today by the second-in-command of a Bergen County-based “crime superstore” that stole identities from people in Asia to get credit cards and bank loans that were used to buy fancy cars, fine whiskey and designer shoes.


Four more Bergen-based ID theft ‘superstore’ defendants admit guilt

Tuesday, 01 November 2011 16:06 Jerry DeMarco

CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: The parade of pleas continued today: A Fort Lee man was one of four people who admitted their roles in a Bergen County-based “crime superstore” that stole identities from people in Asia to get credit cards and bank loans that were used to buy fancy cars, fine whiskey and designer shoes. Dozens have also pleaded guilty and have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing.


Members of Bergen ID theft ‘superstore’ in federal court

Friday, 21 October 2011 02:01 Jerry DeMarco

BEHIND THE STORY: The final pins continue to fall in the federal probe of a Bergen County-based “crime superstore” that stole identities from people in Asia to get credit cards and bank loans that were used to buy fancy cars, fine whiskey and designer shoes:


Two more ID thieves plead guilty in ‘crime superstore’

Thursday, 13 October 2011 23:24 Jerry DeMarco

CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: A former Ridgefield resident today admitted his role in a “crime superstore” that stole identities from people in Asia to get credit cards and bank loans they then used to buy fancy cars, fine whiskey and designer shoes, among other luxuries.


Korean immigrant from Bergen admits role in crime ‘super store’ that stole millions

Thursday, 11 August 2011 17:54 Jerry DeMarco

CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: A Korean immigrant living in Edgewater today admitted her connection to a “crime superstore” that stole identities from people in Asia to get credit cards and bank loans they then used to buy fancy cars, fine whiskey and designer shoes, among other luxuries. As part of her plea, she agreed to repay the government $1.23 million.


Men admit roles in Asian ID theft ring that made millions

Monday, 20 June 2011 21:41 Jerry DeMarco

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Two men admitted their roles in a sophisticated identity theft ring, based in Palisades Park, that made millions of dollars by distributing counterfeit Social Security cards, driver’s licenses and passports for Asian immigrants in exchange for hefty fees.


‘Crime super store’ sold stolen IDs used to defraud banks of millions… and?

Thursday, 16 September 2010 22:53 Jerry DeMarco

EDITORIAL : Federal authorities swept up dozens of Bergen County residents and others early Thursday in connection with a “crime superstore” that sold stolen identities that helped customers open lines of credit and conduct other types of illicit business. The victims? Banks and credit card companies.






SUPPORT Cliffview Pilot :


{loadposition log}



to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.

Welcome to

Fort Lee Daily Voice!

Serves Fort Lee, Leonia & Palisades Park

This is a one time message inviting you to keep in touch

Get important news about your town as it happens.