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Palisades Park mayoral candidate, Korean associates indicted in $500,000 real estate scam

Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR

ONLY ON CVP: A onetime Palisades Park mayoral candidate was indicted along with two alleged accomplices in connection with a real estate scam that authorities said fleeced Korean investors of more than $500,000.

The victims said they invested in Fort Lee-based companies known as E2West Corp and Family Club to buy share in a golf resort/condominium called Nest Hill on the southern island of Jeju in South Korea.

Controlling those companies were onetime Palisades Park independent mayoral candidate Kiyoung “Kenneth” Kim ( above, left ), 44, and 43-year-old South Korean national Shangsu Han ( above, right ) of Los Angeles, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said in July.

Kim was arrested in New Jersey and Han taken into custody at his Fullerton, CA home in late July before being brought to New Jersey to face charges in early October. Han immediately posted $100,000 bail and was released on Oct. 8.

Han remained in the Bergen County Jail for nearly two months before posting $150,000 bail on Sept. 23.

Besides Kim and Han, the indictment names a third defendant, Lily Ahn, 44, of Palisades Park.

The indictment returned by a grand jury in Hackensack this week accuses the defendants of running the scam from June 2006 until November 2012 while acting as officers of E2WEST Corp. and KOUSA, Inc., doing business as Family Club.

It says they “directed, organized, financed, planned, managed and controlled” property as part of a criminal enterprise, unlawfully obtained and disposed of parcels at a “substantial risk of loss” to the victims and conspired to launder money.

“The victims had seen numerous advertisements in Korean newspapers and television commercials regarding multiple real estate investment opportunities overseas, including South Korea and China, and had even attended investment seminars hosted locally by [Kim and Han],” the prosecutor said.

Although they had signed contracts, the investors, “have not received any return,” he said.

Although Nest Hill once existed on Jeju, neither Kim nor Han “ever had any affiliation with the resort complex, nor did they any contractual agreement to sell any portion of [it],” Molinelli said.

Information obtained through the assistance of Interpol and South Korean police found that Nest Hill shut down as a resort condo in the fall of 2005 before reopening with a new name, and under new management, in late 2008, the prosecutor said.

Both the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Los Angeles FBI office received the intial complaints beginning four years ago.

MUGSHOTS: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR

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