Interpol asked to seek diplomat wanted in fraud

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Interpol asked to seek diplomat wanted in fraud

The Haeundae Police Precinct in Busan has asked Interpol to place on its wanted list the U.S. diplomat who fled Korea earlier this month while under investigation for fraud.

Police also obtained the arrest warrant for Dario Tomas and have asked the Korea Immigration Service for cooperation if he re-enters the country. Tomas was stripped of diplomatic immunity on March 5, but he left the country two days earlier.

A U.S. federal grand jury sitting in San Diego has issued an indictment against Tomas, charging him with fraud.

The 51-year-old employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had been under investigation since last fall for allegedly defrauding a Korean woman of 220 million won ($193,600) with a bogus scheme to build a computer school in the Philippines.

While the search continues, Lee, the 50-year-old victim, criticized the U.S. government for failing to compensate her. In an interview with the JoongAng Daily, Lee said in January that an official from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection under the Homeland Security Department had told her that the department would make good her loss.

“That raised my hopes, but about a month later, the same official said that a lawyer at the department decided I wouldn’t be compensated since the case occurred on a private level,” Lee said.

U.S. Embassy officials who met Lee on March 9 in Busan confirmed the bad news, Lee said recently. “They said if I let this case out in the media, I would lose any small chance I had of getting compensation,” she said.

Lee had received a large sum of insurance money after her husband was killed in an auto accident and had saved it for her daughter’s university tuition fees. She has written a letter addressed to U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, demanding compensation.


By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]

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