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New Jersey ID Theft Ringleader Gets 12-year Sentence

The head of a 54-person criminal enterprise in New Jersey has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for identity theft and financial crimes.

Ringleader Sang-Hyun "Jimmy" Park will be deported to South Korea after he serves his term, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The court also ordered Park to repay the nearly $4.8 million he fraudulently obtained from banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions.

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In 2012, Park pleaded guilty to identity theft, producing fake IDs, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the IRS.

Park's organization fraudulently obtained Social Security cards and sold them to Korean immigrants. The stolen IDs were used to apply for driver's licenses and credit cards.

After building up the credit scores on the 700 to 800 fraudulently-obtained identities, Park's enterprise defrauded banks and lenders out of $4 million and claimed more than $182,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.

Merchants who were in on Park's scam would put fake transactions on the credit cards and then split the proceeds.

Park laundered the money through various accounts in his native South Korea.

"Sang Hyun Park was the mastermind behind multiple, complex, fraudulent schemes that affected numerous financial institutions and individual victims,” FBI-Newark Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford said in a news release.

“In doing so, he exploited the close ties of the community he lived in."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Moscato told the court that defendants "were law-abiding citizens who were sucked into the scheme," the Associated Press reports.

Fifty-three others were charged along with Park in connection with the fraud ring. With the exception of one defendant who is a fugitive, the rest have pleaded guilty and are negotiating plea deals. 

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