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Newport lawyer faces more charges of stealing from clients

Prosecutors this week added a handful of charges against a Newport Beach lawyer who was indicted in September on allegations of stealing $4.7 million from his clients instead of investing the money as promised.

A new indictment by a federal grand jury on Tuesday alleges that Stephen Young Kang, 46, stole an additional $1 million from three clients who wanted to invest it in a way that would help them secure visas to the United States.

Prosecutors say Kang bilked clients who were trying to get into the EB-5 visa program, which requires applicants to invest $500,000 in a company that will use the money to create or retain at least 10 full-time jobs in the U.S.

The original indictment alleged that Kang similarly promised he would help a couple get visas by investing $1 million for them. Instead, Kang spent the money on himself, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

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The indictments also allege that Kang stole $3.7 million from Gardena-based food distributor Ottogi America Inc., which had put the money in a trust account so Kang could buy properties for the company.

With the new indictment, Kang faces a total of 22 counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of aggravated identity theft and three counts of tax evasion.

Prosecutors say Kang committed the identity theft when he forged two of his clients’ signatures. He also is accused of trying to avoid paying taxes between 2012 and 2014.

If convicted, Kang would have to turn over any ill-gotten gains, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

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He also would face up to 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud charge, 10 years for each money laundering charge and five years for each tax evasion charge. The identity theft charges carry a mandatory two-year sentence, according to prosecutors.

Kang is expected to be arraigned on the new charges soon, but no date was available.

Federal agents arrested Kang on Aug. 10 at Los Angeles International Airport, where he was trying to catch a flight to Seoul, South Korea, prosecutors said.

He is currently free on $750,000 bail.


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