South Korean National Accused of Laundering Money for Hostess Bars, Massage Parlors

article top

BY JIM DOOLEYA Korean national with multiple passports and identities has been indicted on federal fraud charges and has admitted laundering money for hostess bar and massage parlor employees here and in Los Angeles.

From 2009 through May of this year, Young Mo Sun illegally “structured” more than $5 million in bank deposits by parceling them into 254 transactions averaging about $6,000 each, according to an indictment returned last week.


Deposits under $10,000 do not generate federal cash transaction reports that are used by law enforcement to track illicit financial deals.

The defendant allegedly entered the United States in February 1998 on a one-year tourist visa, but stayed in the country since then by obtaining false South Korean passports and by buying several false American identity forms, including a social security card and driver’s licenses, according to federal court papers.

An official at Ohana Pacific Bank initially tipped Honolulu police last year that Young had opened two checking accounts at the institution using different Korean passports and visas, according to an affidavit from federal Homeland Security Special Agent Paul Malana.

When federal agents and police confronted and arrested Young at First Hawaiian Bank, they found he was carrying Hawaii and Maryland driver’s licenses in different names, the affidavit said.

He also had credit cards and other id’s in different names as well as $40,669 in cash, according to Malana.

Young said he had purchased false South Korean passports and visas in Los Angeles for $800 apiece and used them to open bank accounts here.

“Korean females working in the bar and massage parlors would contact Young Mo Sung to assist them in the movement of their funds from Hawaii to Los Angeles and/or from Los Angeles to Hawaii,” the affidavit said.

Young said that he bought a phony social security card in Los Angeles under the name of De Jin for $1,200 and then used that id to buy a false Maryland driver’s license.

Young also told law enforcement that the paid $7,000 to a “facilitator” to obtain another false Korean passport and visa, then traveled to Chicago with a group of 7 or 8 other individuals “to take the (Illinois) driver’s license exam.”

The FBI later recovered the Illinois license, according to Malana’s affidavit.

Young was indicted on five criminal counts, including passport and visa fraud and money laundering offenses at five Honolulu banks.

Kenneth J. Hines, the IRS Special Agent in Charge of Hawaii, said Tuesday: “Structuring currency transactions to avoid detection by law enforcement may seem like a good idea, but it could lead to a structured system called Federal Court, as it did here.”