YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Palisades Park mayoral candidate was in custody and an accomplice from Los Angeles was being sought in connection with a real estate scam that authorities said fleeced Korean investors of more than $500,000.
Both the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Los Angeles FBI office received the intial complaints beginning four years ago.
The victims said they invested in companies known as E2West Corp and Family Club to buy share in a golf resort/condominium called Nest Hill on the southern island of Jeju in South Korea.
Controlling those companies were Palisades Park independent mayoral candidate Kiyoung “Kenneth” Kim (above, left) and Shangsu Han, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said this afternoon.
“The victims had seen numerous advertisements in Korean newspapers and television commercials regarding multiple real estate investment opportunities overseas, including South Korea and China, and had even attended investment seminars hosted locally by [Kim and Han],” Molinelli (above right) said.
Although they had signed contracts, the investors, “have not received any return,” the prosecutor said.
Although Nest Hill once existed on Jeju, neither Kim nor Han “ever had any affiliation with the resort complex, nor did they any contractual agreement to sell any portion of [it],” Molinelli said.
Information obtained through the assistance of Interpol and South Korean police found that Nest Hill shut down as a resort condo in the fall of 2005 before reopening with a new name, and under new management, in late 2008, the prosecutor said.
Both Kim and Han are charged with money laundering, theft and conspiracy.
Kim was being held on $250,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail. Han’s whereabouts “are currently unknown,” Molinelli said.
He noted that the investigation was continuing, and urged any victims or people with information about either man, or the affiliated companies, to contact his White Collar Crimes Unit: (201) 226-5678