Forest Hills man busted by FBI for defrauding banks while serving in the de Blasio administration: Feds

Forest Hills resident Tommy Lin was a high-ranking official in the administration of former Mayor Bill de Blasio when he participated in a bank fraud scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
Photo via Tommy Lin/Facebook

A Forest Hills man was arrested by FBI agents on Thursday morning for participating in a multi-million dollar bank fraud scheme while he was a high-ranking official in the administration of former Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Tommy Lin, 41, was charged in a superseding indictment along with two co-defendants for defrauding financial institutions which resulted in the theft of over $10 million while serving as the Director of Constituent Services in the Community Affairs Unit.

Beginning in 2018, Lin participated in a scheme with his co-defendants Zhong Shi Gao and Fei Jiang, and others to steal millions of dollars by causing transfers of funds between accounts they controlled, then falsely and fraudulently reporting that the transfers were unauthorized, which induced the financial institutions to credit them the amount of the transfers, according to the indictment. The scheme was responsible for over $10 million in actual losses to nearly a dozen banks.

“Tommy Lin allegedly participated in a complex bank fraud scheme while also serving as a Director in the New York City Mayor’s Office and Senior Advisor to the NYPD’s Asian Advisory Council,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. “Leveraging his connections to law enforcement, he allegedly leaked personal identifying information to members of the scheme, ran background checks for them and even arranged for federal immigration authorities to arrest an individual in exchange for $20,000 in cash.”

Lin allegedly accepted that $20,000 bribe in cash in exchange for arranging for a Deportation Officer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to arrest a disgruntled accountholder who had previously participated in the scheme, according to the indictment.

“To facilitate this conspiracy, Lin allegedly assisted members of the scheme in running background checks and accepted a significant cash bribe to arrange the arrest of a slighted account holder by immigration authorities,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith said. “Those in municipal offices are expected to conduct themselves with rectitude and obedience to the law, not engage in the purposeful manipulation of our economic infrastructure.”

Lin is charged with one count of bank fraud conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and one count of aggravated identity theft which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.

“I thank the career prosecutors of this Office and our law enforcement partners for their persistence in investigating this fraudulent and corrupt scheme,” Williams said.

Lin currently serves as the Queens Community Coordinator at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, which will conduct an internal review. The DEP placed Lin on leave shortly after he was arrested by the FBI on Thursday.