Montgomery County officials pleads in $6.7 million fraud scheme

Montgomery County officials pleads in $6.7 million fraud scheme
Posted at 5:40 PM, Nov 16, 2018

A Montgomery County government official pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $6.7 million from county coffers and failing to report that money as income, the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland announced Friday.

Byung II Bang, a.k.a. Peter Bang, a 59-year-old Germantown man, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and making false statements on his tax returns.

From 2010 through July 2016 Bang served as Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Economic Development for Montgomery County, according to his plea. The MC-DED was privatized in 2016, and Bang's job was moved to the Montgomery County Department of Finance, where he remained until May 2017.

Bang's department established business incubator and innovation centers throughout the county. Bang oversaw the budgets of these projects and authorized disbursement requests of county funds from agencies such as the Maryland Economic Development Corporation and the Maryland Conference & Visitors Bureau. Bang did not have much oversight in this role. 

The county and the South Korean province of Chungcheongbuk-Do entered into an agreement to develop an incubator fund in 2010, the U.S. Attorney's office said. Bang caused the company Chungbuk Incubator Fund LLC  to incorporate in Maryland, then opened four bank accounts in the company's name, but listing his home address for the company. Bang then used this entity and it's bank accounts to facilitate the fraud. 

During a six year period, Bang fraudulently authorized the disbursing of $6,705,669.37 from the county government to the accounts he created. His failure to report any of his fraudulent gains as income resulted in the loss of $2,335,913 in tax revenue, the U.S. Attorney's statement said.

Bang admitted to lying on his county financial disclosure statements from 2012 to 2016 and failing to disclose his interest in the company he used for his fraud. 

As part of his plea, Bang must pay full restitution of the losses and plead guilty in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County to state charges of theft scheme over $100,000 and misconduct in office.

he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud and three years for making false statements on his tax return whe he is sentenced Feb. 22, 2019.