ATTENTION BANK ROBBERS: Are you tired of going to all the trouble of sticking up a bank and only getting a lousy $4,000? Get a job at a bank and go for the real money!
NEWARK, NJ —A former assistant vice president at a Fort Lee, New Jersey bank surrendered to the FBI yesterday for her alleged involvement in a scheme to embezzle over $1 million from her employer, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Miye Chon, a/k/a/ “Karen Chon,” 34, of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, is scheduled to make her initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court. She is charged by complaint with theft, embezzlement or misapplication of funds by a bank officer or employee.
According to the complaint unsealed today:
Chon was employed by BankAsiana, a federally insured financial institution, until the bank was acquired in October 2013. Chon was an operations officer and later an assistant vice president at the Fort Lee branch. As a result, she had access to customer accounts, as well as the bank’s internal account records, computer system and vault.
Over the course of several years, Chon allegedly stole over $1 million from BankAsiana’s customer accounts by regularly making unauthorized transfers from customer certificate of deposit (CD) accounts into BankAsiana’s vault cash account, and then physically removing cash from the bank’s vault.
BankAsiana’s successor bank began an internal investigation after a customer found problems with tax forms and account records. The successor bank discovered that Chon, using her unique credentials, accessed BankAsiana’s computer systems on multiple occasions to make unauthorized transfers from customer CDs to the bank’s vault account before removing the cash. Chon had avoided detection by making false entries in the bank’s records and ensuring that funds she removed from CDs were transferred back into those accounts before they were set to reach maturity.
Chon allegedly embezzled funds on dozens of occasions, typically taking tens of thousands of dollars at a time, and one time converting as much as $100,000 from a customer’s CD account. Bank records show that during one week between September 27, 2013 and October 4, 2013, Chon’s last day working at the bank, she made multiple unauthorized transfers from customer accounts totaling approximately $1.2 million to cover losses in other customer accounts that she had previously looted. According to the successor bank’s investigation, the scheme resulted in an approximate $1.4 million loss to the bank.
Chon faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a maximum fine of the greater of $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, and a mandatory restitution order in the full amount of BankAsiana’s loss.
U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the FBI’s Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, for their work on this case.
The charge in the complaint against Chon is merely an accusation, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Murphy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.