Imagine opening your door to an IRS Agent flashing a badge from the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS. Now imagine that the IRS Agent turns out to be a crook. If it sounds far-fetched, read the indictment of Bryan Cho who was arrested and charged with a whole bundle of serious crimes. If he is convicted, the charges could land him in the slammer for up to 20 years. The 10-count indictment of the IRS agent was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn. It charges Bryan Cho, aka “Yong Hee Cho,” with possession of a fake foreign passport, aggravated identity theft, making false statements during a background check, and wire fraud in connection with the purchase of a New York apartment. Apart from being accused of identity theft and wire fraud, the feds allege that he used forged documents to buy the NY co-op.
Cho started as an IRS agent in 2008. But by 2021, the feds say he has a fake foreign passport and that he submitted multiple false documents in connection with the purchase of a NY apartment. The indictment charges that Cho used forged tax returns and bank statements to inflate his income and assets so the co-op board would approve him for the building. Prosecutors claim that he funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a foreign bank account for an entity he created using false identity documents. In a job-related background investigation, the government claims that he denied possessing any foreign identification documents. Talk about on the job training. During the course of his employment, Cho worked on an investigation through which he obtained identifying information for an individual described in the indictment as “John Doe.” The investigation was eventually closed, but Cho retained items he obtained during the investigation.
Then, prosecutors say he used John Doe’s identifying information to create false identification documents and open a corporate entity overseas in John Doe’s name. The allegedly fraudulent documents included purported identification cards for the Philippines and the Republic of Marshall Islands in the name of John Doe, but bearing photos of Cho, and a purported passport in the name of John Doe for the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. Cho also denied any contacts with foreign officials even though law enforcement officials from South Korea had communications with him regarding allegations that South Korean government personnel paid him bribes in exchange for information about ongoing U.S. criminal investigations.
As with any indictment, these are just accusations, and Cho is presumed to be innocent unless and until he is proven guilty. However, more than a few taxpayers are probably scratching their heads over the power of the IRS and the fear people have about dealing with them. This kind of story hardly helps.
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