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Thread: San Gabriel Korean pastor scammed millions out of parishioners, escaped to Korea

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    May 2012
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    San Gabriel Korean pastor scammed millions out of parishioners, escaped to Korea

    Haven't seen any English coverage for this, so I thought I'd repost this here:

    NOTE: Following link is in Chinese, I'll post a translation below:

    World Journal / Los Angeles Area / Korean Pastor cheated Chinese American Woman out of 300000 live savings

    Investment with the Korean pastor, Chinese women defrauded for over 300000
    Reporter Luo Shuxian San Gabriel reported
    June 21, 2012 6:05 AM

    Originally from Beijing, 70-year-old Chinese woman in San Gabriel Wang Jina participated in the San Gabriel's Church of Christ, was defrauded by the Korean pastor Choi Tai Hao (sp?) of the life savings of more than 300000 over the past two years, and is now 90000 in debt due to identity fraud. Ms. Wang reported the fraud to police, and said there are at least seven or eight other members (either Chinese or Korean) in the Church was also defrauded. The Pastor had not been seen for months and is believed to have escaped to Korea.

    Jina Wang told police that she began in February 2010 going to No. 600 Dewey Street, San Gabriel Korean Church of Christ, to participate in church activities, church pastor Choi Taihao (transliteration) began to speak to her, and inquire about her financial situation, and expressed willingness to help her make some investments. March 2010, the two sides signed the first investment agreement, Ms. Wang handed over 50,000 in a clothing (cleaning?) business owned by Choi, and in July 2010, the two sides signed another investment agreement, and once again pay 96,500 to Choi.

    The first few months, Choi sporadically paid a few "investment income" of amounts ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, the total amount of 19,260 yuan, but in December of that year, he stopped paying Ms. Wang.

    In November the same year, Choi seeked Ms. Wang's "assistance" to help the church to buy a car, Ms. Wang thought that the church will reimburse her, so she agreed to sign for the church's car loan.

    In August 15, 2011, Choi wrote a check to Ms. Wang, but check bounced due to insufficient funds.

    In September, Wang wrote a personal check for 92,000 to Choi, believing the fund is "lent" to the church and will be refunded by church headquarters in New York, according to Choi, but had never received any repayment. In October 2011 Choi stop paying Ms. Wang for the vehicle. At the time the car load's outstanding balance was 39800. It is at this time that Wang discovered that Choi had already departed for Korea and cannot be contacted.

    In December 2011, Ms. Wang found on her credit report that Choi had actually purchased a SECOND CAR in her name and left her further 40900 in debt. For a time, debt collectors even called her daughter's home. Ms. Wang was left with only legal action to stop her financial nightmare, to report the two vehicles lost to theft, repossessed, and auctioned off to resolve her debt there.

    Ms. Wang told this newspaper (on June 20th) that her church has more victims, that she is one suffered serious loss, but at least another, a Chinese woman of Korean ancestry from northeast China Ms. Yue has also been cheated by Choi out of 150000, most of which are loans. This result in a bitter fight between Ms. Yue and her husband.

    Ms. Wang came to the U.S. more than a decade ago and was doing mainly housekeeper and caretaker work, with monthly income of less than 3000. She was cheated out of more than 300000 life savings. Furthermore, she had taken out a loan to give Choi a third payment of 920000, and to repay that she was forced to sell her house. Ms. Wang admitted that the sudden blow to her was very devastating, and she had contemplated suicide for a while, but no longer has such thoughts.

    Ms. Wang said, Pastor Choi usually seems to "very honest and pious, unlike a man with mouthful of lies, maybe because of this, successful gain trust," and got her to walk step by step into the scam. She gave Choi that third check for 92,000 in October 2011, and three days later, Choi left the US. She and other followers are convinced he will be back.

    "So what if he go to jail? My money not come back." Ms. Wang said. Choi does not have any property in the United States, and fled to South Korea, so finding someone like that is like finding needle in a haystack, and now the lawyers believe chance of recovering anything is negligible.

    The current Church of Christ pastor Abraham Song responded that Choi did serve as the church dean, but left the church in August 2011, then leave the United States and without further contact with the church, almost at the same time, dozens of ethnic Chinese believers also left of the church. Song said he knows nothing about any monetary dispute between Choi and the parishoners.

    Local police confirmed that Choi has fled the United States, and the case has been referred to the fraud unit for further investigation.

    Read more: 世界新聞網-北美華人社區新聞 - 韓裔牧師 助投資 騙華婦30萬
    If you know where is Choi, San Gabriel Police would LOVE to talk to you.
    Last edited by kschang; 06-22-2012 at 01:12 PM.


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