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Bergen County Man Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Conspiring to Fraudulently Make Identity Documents

TRENTON, NJ—A Bergen County, N.J., resident who admitted his role in providing a fraudulent Social Security card, California driver’s license, and counterfeit Korean passport was sentenced today to 30 months in prison, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Yu-Je Jo, 37, of Cliffside Park, N.J., previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an Information charging him with conspiring to unlawfully produce identification documents. Jo was arrested on Sept. 16, 2010, in a coordinated law enforcement takedown of 53 individuals in connection with widespread, sophisticated identity theft and fraud. He was sentenced today by Sheridan in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Jo and a co-conspirator with the initials J.N.K. were identity document brokers who conspired with each other and others to sell documents, such as Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, and counterfeit passports, for the purpose of committing fraud.

In August 2010, Jo and J.N.K. conspired to fraudulently issue a genuine Social Security card, a California driver’s license, and a counterfeit Korean passport to another person. Jo admitted that he and J.N.K. agreed to sell a genuinely issued Social Security card and a counterfeit Korean passport to a person they believed to be a customer, but who was a confidential informant. Jo told the confidential informant that he could travel to California and use the fraudulently obtained Social Security card and counterfeit Korean passport to obtain a California driver’s license. Jo told the confidential informant that he could use these fraudulently obtained identity documents to engage in credit card fraud, bank fraud, and other frauds. Jo agreed to sell the identity documents for approximately $14,000. Jo admitted that the confidential informant made an initial $4,000 cash payment and a subsequent $3,000 cash payment for those documents.

In addition to the prison term, Jo was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $558,635, representing the proceeds of his fraudulent activity.

U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark; IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff; the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees; and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor John L. Molinelli and the Office’s Chief of Detectives Steven Cucciniello for their work leading to today’s plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara R. Llanes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark and Anthony Moscato of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.

Defense Attorney: Paul B. Brickfield Esq., River Edge, N.J.

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