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Federal indictment charges former Fort Lee bank official with embezzling $1.2M

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YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A federal grand jury in Newark today indicted a former assistant vice-president at BankAsiana in Fort Lee on charges of embezzling more than $1.2 million from her employer.

Miye Chon, 34, of Englewood Cliffs — also known as Karen Chon — made a series of unauthorized transfers from customers’ CDs into the bank’s vault cash account, then walked out with the money over the course of several years, the indictment alleges.

Dozens of illegal transfers typically went for tens of thousands of dollars at a time, although one was for $100,000, it says, in charging Chon with one count of bank fraud and 27 counts of theft, embezzlement or misapplication of funds by a bank officer or employee.

“Bank records show that during one week between September 27, 2013 and October 4, 2013, Chon’s last day working at the bank, she made multiple unauthorized transfers from customer accounts totaling approximately $1.2 million to cover losses in other customer accounts that she had previously looted,” U.S. Attorney Paul S. Fishman said after Chon surrendered to FBI agents this past September.

Officials said the scheme ended up costing the bank $1.4 million.

After BankAsiana was acquired in October 2013, officials launched an internal investigation in response to a customer’s complaint about tax forms and account records, the U.S. attorney said.

They found that Chon accessed BankAsiana’s computer systems using her credentials to make the transfers, he said.

She’d avoided detection to that point “by making false entries in the bank’s records and ensuring that funds she removed from CDs were transferred back into those accounts before they were set to reach maturity,” Fishman said.

Fishman praised special agents of the FBI’s Newark Field Office for their work on the case, which is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Murphy of Fishman’s Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

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