Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) February 11, 2008
After four years of litigation, a Los Angeles jury in case number CV 04-3866 found that Erica Kim, her brother Christopher (KJ) Kim and his wife, Bora Lee were liable for more than $71 million to plaintiff, Optional Capital, Inc.
Attorneys Ralph Rogari and Mary Lee demonstrated to the seven person federal court jury that in early 2001, Erica Kim, Christopher Kim and Bora Lee conspired to acquire control of Optional Capital for use in a pump and dump stock fraud scheme. Upon secretly acquiring management control, defendants began opening Korean foreign investment accounts in names similar to well known companies such as G.E. Investment Capital Partners. They issued public announcements that these companies had purchased a stake in Optional Capital and then issued company stock to the investment accounts. Once the stock was in the accounts, defendants sold it. The jury found defendants fraudulently made $31 million by this conduct.
The jury also concluded that from July through December, 2001, defendants looted Optional's bank accounts by causing employees to withdraw $37.1 billion won. (about $40 million) The withdrawals were falsely listed on company books as unclassified investments. The scheme was discovered after defendants Christopher (KJ) Kim and Bora Lee fled to the United States shorty before a public audit of the company was due.
For the better part of four years, the defendants filed thousands of pages of paper with the district court claiming that they were innocent and that Optional Capital, Inc. could not prove its claims. But when it came time to explain their actions to the jury, defendants became much less vocal. A little over a month before the trial was scheduled to begin, Christopher Kim decided to return to Korea where he is facing criminal prosecution. Likewise, his sister, former attorney Erica Kim, refused to testify, asserting the fifth amendment.
Mr. Rogari and Ms. Lee still have work to do before the company can recover a portion of what was lost. The United States government has seized most of the assets remaining from defendants fraud scheme and forfeiture proceedings are ongoing. But after this verdict, there should be no doubt that it is Optional Capital, Inc. -- not Erica Kim, Christopher (KJ) Kim, Bora Lee and the companies they created to hide the stolen loot -- that is entitled to recover the seized properties from the government.