Man convicted in Brooklyn Federal Court of securities fraud targeting Korean Americans
John Won was convicted by a jury in Brooklyn Federal Court Tuesday on five counts of an indictment charging him with securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, as well as substantive securities fraud.
The verdict followed a week-long trial before United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie. When sentenced, Won faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Between February 2012 and December 2013, Won conspired with co-defendant Tae Hung Kang and others in a scheme to defraud victims, who were largely members of New York City’s Korean American community, into investing in foreign exchange trading accounts and in their company, called ForexNPower.
The conspirators 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 percent monthly returns at no risk of loss.
In reality, ForexNPower had no successful trading method and all of their customer accounts suffered substantial losses.
The conspirators 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. In truth, Won and his co-conspirators misappropriated a substantial portion of the funds, spending the remainder on, among other things, the fraudulent advertisements.
In March 2021, co-defendant Tae Hung Kang, also known as “Kevin Kang,” pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Kang is awaiting sentencing.
Breon Peace, United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York; and Michael J. Driscoll, assistant director-in-charge, FBI, New York Field Office, announced the verdict.
“John Won and his co-conspirators targeted the Korean American community in our district and cheated them out of hundreds of thousands of their hard-earned dollars through a web of false promises, lies and deceit,” said U.S. Attorney Peace. “Today’s verdict demonstrates the resolve of this Office and our law enforcement partners to prosecuting those who engage in fraud and betray the trust of their investors.”
Peace thanked the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and National Futures Association (NFA) for their significant cooperation and assistance in this case.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah M. Evans and Nicholas J. Moscow, and Assistant Chief Gerald M. Moody, Jr. of the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section, are in charge of the prosecution.
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