U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19880 / October 25, 2006
SEC v. Hyun Soo Jang, Kangsan Kim, Unus Capital Management, Inc. and Peoplen Investment, Corp., Case No. CV 06-06775 CAS (AJWx) (C.D. Cal.).
SEC Charges Two Men for Perpetrating a Multi-Million Dollar Investment Fraud Targeting Korean-Speaking Investors
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today the filing of fraud charges against two men who operated an investment scheme that raised approximately $4.5 million from about 40 investors in Southern California's Korean language-speaking community.
The Commission's complaint, filed yesterday, alleges that Hyun Soo Jang and Kangsan Kim controlled two firms that they held out as legitimate, regulated businesses. Also named in the SEC's complaint are their two now-defunct firms: Unus Capital Management, Inc., Kim's Los Angeles-based investment advisory firm that recommended securities to clients, and PeopleN Investment, Corp., Jang's San Francisco-based brokerage firm that supposedly executed trades as directed by Unus.
The complaint alleges that Jang and Kim did not use investor funds to purchase securities as promised. Instead, according to the complaint, Jang, age 39, formerly of Los Angeles, Calif., and Kim, age 34, of Anaheim, Calif., misappropriated the funds entrusted to them, including about $2.5 million taken by Jang, and $500,000 taken by Kim and Unus. The complaint also alleges that Jang used an additional $500,000 to repay existing investors with money that had been deposited by new investors.
The Commission's complaint alleges that, between January 2003 and August 2005, Unus attracted investors through broadcasting morning stock market reports hosted by Jang and Kim that were aired on Korean-language radio stations. As alleged in the complaint, after being contacted by interested investors, Jang and Kim falsely portrayed Unus and PeopleN as established and regulated entities. The complaint alleges that Jang and Kim misrepresented PeopleN as a broker that was registered and a member of various securities industry organizations, such as the New York Stock Exchange, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation and The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. In addition, the complaint alleges that Jang and Kim continued to hold out Unus as a registered investment adviser even after the firm had withdrawn its registration with the California Department of Corporations.
The complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that all the defendants violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and that PeopleN, Jang and Kim also violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, which provisions prohibit securities fraud. The complaint further alleges that Unus violated, and that Jang and Kim aided and abetted the violation of, Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 which prohibit an investment adviser from defrauding clients or prospective clients. Finally the complaint alleges that PeopleN and Jang violated the broker-dealer registration provisions of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act. The Commission seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest against the defendants, and civil penalties against Jang and Kim.
The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the California Department of Corporations.
For information on identifying and avoiding affinity frauds, the Commission has issued information for investors, "Affinity Fraud: How to Avoid Investment Scams That Target Groups," located at http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/affinity.htm.