Whitestone, Bayside residents sentenced to jail for scamming Korean American community in Queens: Feds

Howard Beach
Five Romanian nationals living in Queens were arrested Thursday and criminally charged hours later in Brooklyn federal court for allegedly skimming ATMs across the borough to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from more than 600 victims, according to federal prosecutors.
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A Whitestone man on Sept. 15 was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court to a year and a day in prison for his role in a scheme that targeted the Korean American community in Queens.

John Won, 53, was also ordered to pay $842,000 in restitution following his 2021 conviction at trial on all counts including securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy, as well as substantive securities fraud.

Won’s co-defendant Tae Hung Kang, 57, of Bayside, pleaded guilty to securities fraud conspiracy and was sentenced to two years in prison in 2021.

Between October 2010 and December 2013, Won conspired with Kang and others in a scheme to defraud victims, who were largely members of New York’s Korean American community, into investing in foreign exchange trading accounts and in their company, called ForexNPower. Prosecutors said they issued advertisements in Korean-language newspapers and on Korean-language radio stations claiming that ForexNPower had a secret algorithmic trading method used to trade in the foreign exchange market that guaranteed investors 10% monthly returns at no risk of loss.

Prosecutors said ForexNPower had no successful trading method and their customer accounts suffered substantial losses.

Won and Kang also induced investors to purchase stock issued by ForexNPower by falsely claiming that the invested funds would be used to expand the business to a new location in New Jersey or pooled and used to trade foreign currencies.

“John Won and Kevin Kang shamelessly defrauded members of the Korean American community in our district out of their nest eggs and life savings,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. “This sentence shows what fraudsters and con men should expect when they target innocent victims — they will be caught, punished and ordered to return their ill-gotten gains.”