NEWARK - A man who police say preyed on people with bad credit by promising new identities and better credit has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Sang-Hyun "Jimmy" Park pleaded guilty to fraud, according to the prosecutor. Investigators say they first became suspicious when multiple sets of driver's licenses and identities were found at a crime scene in Bergen County. Authorities then brought the case to the attention of the FBI.
The scam involved legitimate Social Security cards that began with the prefix 586, originally issued to workers in Guam and American Samoa. Park is believed to have been buying as many 586 cards as he could, and selling them to customers looking to apply for other forms of identification. Park them helped those customers establish credit by obtaining credit cards and opening bank accounts.
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"With valid credentials and high credit scores, the 586 card owners could open credit accounts everywhere, banks, retail stores, car dealerships," said Special Agent Theresa Fanelli, another member of the investigative team. "The sky was the limit."
The cards were used, and fraudulent payments were made to keep the accounts active.
Police say Park recruited dozens of participants by placing ads in Korean-language newspapers.
More than 20,000 cards were sold in the worldwide operation.