YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A crew of Korean natives ran a short-sale real estate scam out of Palisades Park that conned one victim out of $300,000 and another of $260,000, an indictment returned in Hackensack alleges.
Four of those named in the indictment were being held in the Bergen County Jail on $75,000 bail following their arrests yesterday. Authorities said they were searching for two others.
Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said the crew ran the alleged scam in 2008-2009 from “Newstar Realty & Investment,” owned and operated in Palisades Park by a Norwood couple: Ki Sung Chung, 55, and his wife, 53-year-old Soon Hwa Park-Bergman.
Working with them, the prosecutor said, was Hyang Son Yi (aka: Paula Yi), a 56-year-old licensed realtor from Fairview employed by Newstar.
To make the scam work, another couple – Dennis and Beverly Oak – teamed up with Chung in what they called the “Ho Tay (West Lake) Park Project” in Hanoi, Vietnam, Molinelli said.
Chung and his wife launched the scheme by convincing one of the victims to buy a short-sale Bergen County property, the prosecutor said.
They then secretly funneled the money into the sale of a second property owned by Yi’s husband, alleged co-conspirator Ki Jung Yun, and sold off the first plot at a sheriff’s auction, he said.
Chung, Park, Yi and Yun kept the con going, Molinelli said, convincing the victim to invest more money into the second property for redevelopment and a quick flip. Unaware of the first hustle, she gave them the amount that they said was needed to pay a construction company, he said.
As proof, Chung and Park showed her a bogus check that was never deposited, Molinelli said.
The crew went on to take the victim twice more, convincing her to invest in a third property and telling her more money was needed for construction, the prosecutor said.
Instead of putting the money in escrow, as they promised, the crew deposited it into a Newstar account that they drew on, he said. In all, the victim lost $260,000.
The other victim gave Oak and Chung $300,000 for the Hanoi project, with a promised return on his investment of $120,000, Molinelli said.
The money went to Oak’s business and his daughter, the prosecutor said. The crew also bought a personal savings CD
at a local bank, he said.
The grand jury indicted all six on Wednesday.
Chung, Park, Yun and Yi had first appearances in Hackensack yesterday ( see charges below ).
Fugitive warrants were issued for the Oaks.
“Their whereabouts are currently unknown,” Molinelli said this afternoon.
TOP: Ki Sung Chung, Hyang Son Yi, Soon Hwa Park-Bergman, Ki Jung Yun (MUGSHOTS: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE)
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