Defendants Stole Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars by Luring Korean-American Investors into Bogus Foreign Exchange Trading
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, an indictment was unsealed charging Tae Hung Kang, also known as “Kevin Kang,” and John Won with conspiring to commit wire and securities fraud, securities fraud, and conspiring to commit money laundering, in connection with schemes involving foreign exchange trading that targeted members of the Korean-American community. Kang was also charged with substantive wire fraud. The defendants were arrested today and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the charges.
“As alleged in the indictment, Kang and Won lured investors with false promises of great profits to be made in the foreign exchange market, and then stole their money,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, is committed to investigating and prosecuting fraudsters who prey upon the investing public.” Mr. Donoghue expressed his appreciation to the United States Commodities and Futures Trading Commission and the FBI Field Office in Atlanta for their assistance during the investigation.
“As alleged, Kang and Won pursued victims with specific placement of advertisements in Korean-language newspapers, preying upon the kinship of their target group and exploiting their affiliation with this particular community,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “In addition, they falsely represented their trading credentials while persuading investors to contribute additional money in stock—money that was eventually misappropriated. The FBI will continue to dedicate resources to uncovering financial crimes of all kinds, especially those that seek to capitalize on the trust and affinity of innocent victims.”
As alleged in court documents, dozens of investors in the Eastern District of New York were defrauded in connection with the two charged schemes, both of which involved foreign exchange trading. Foreign exchange trading refers to trading one currency for another in an effort to profit from fluctuating exchange rates. In connection with the first alleged scheme, investors were enticed by advertisements placed by the defendants in Korean-language newspapers and other promotional materials to open foreign exchange trading accounts that would be managed by Kang, Won and others at their company FOREXNPOWER. Kang and Won promised investors double-digit returns, claiming to have a secret algorithmic trading method that would generate large profits with minimal risk. In fact, Kang and Won had minimal trading experience, their algorithmic trading method never performed as promised, and investors suffered substantial losses.
In the second scheme, investors were persuaded by the defendants to invest their money into stock issued by Safety Capital Management, Inc. (“Safety Capital”), which did business as FOREXNPOWER. These investors were told their investments would be pooled by Kang and others to conduct foreign exchange trading, or to expand the FOREXNPOWER business, and, again, promised a large return on their investment. Ultimately, nearly all of the money that was invested in Safety Capital stock, totaling at least $700,000, was misappropriated by the defendants. The defendants used the stolen money to pay for advertisements targeting investors and promoting FOREXNPOWER.
If convicted of wire fraud conspiracy, the defendants each face up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Howard Elbert is in charge of the prosecution.
TAE HUNG KANG (also known as “Kevin Kang”)
Bayside, New York
Flushing, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-184 (WFK)