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[whitespace] Los Gatos man faces charges alleging illegal bank scheme

Los Gatos--A Los Gatos man, along with his brother and co-worker, were recently indicted by a federal grand jury on tax-related charges. The three have been charged with various counts of conspiracy, filing a false tax return and structuring activities with a bank for illegal purposes.

Yong Uk "Paul" Ko of Los Gatos, 44, Yong Ho "James" Ko of San Jose, 42, and Jungah "Joanne" Choi of San Jose, 35, were indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose on April 11. The indictment is the result of a two-year investigation by IRS agents and the FBI.

All three defendants are associated with Twin Technology Inc., a San Jose company that assembles computer circuit boards. Yong Ho Ko is the owner of the company, while Yong Uk Ko is the vice president and Choi is a sales representative.

Yong Ho Ko was charged with a total of 13 counts, 11 of which, according to a press release issued by the U. S. Department of Justice, are for "structuring financial transactions with a bank, as part of a pattern of illegal activity involving more than $100,000 in a 12-month period." Choi was charged with two counts and Yong Uk Ko with one for filing false federal income tax returns. Each was also charged with conspiracy.

Between March 1994 and November 1995, Yong Ho Ko and Choi allegedly received almost $1.5 million from selling computer chips to an electronic recycling company, and then failing to include the revenue on their 1994 and 1995 income tax returns. In 1994, Yong Ho Ko reportedly gave his brother approximately $62,000 that was also not reported to the IRS.

According to the indictment, Yong Ho Ko arranged for the payments to be made by multiple checks of less than $10,000 each. Federal law requires financial institutions to file currency transaction reports on cash transactions that are more than $10,000. "[Currency transaction reports] are used by the IRS and law enforcement agencies to detect and investigate possible criminal, tax, and/or regulatory violations," the indictment stated.

Yong Ho Ko allegedly orchestrated the payments and deposited the checks on different days so that the bank would not report the transactions.

The maximum penalty for each count ranges from two to 10 years in prison and fines from $100,000 to $250,000.

None of the defendants will be arrested before a May 10 federal district court appearance, at which time Judge Patricia Trumbull will set bail and hear initial comments.
Gloria I. Wang

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Web extra to the April 26-May 2, 2001 issue of Metro.

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