Former cop fingered in multi-billion won forgery

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Former cop fingered in multi-billion won forgery

Suspects who forged a 10 billion won ($8.7 million) certified bank check are a former police officer and a man whom police have been seeking for about a year for forging a 4.7 billion won promissory note, according to police.

The Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency said recently the man who appeared in the Suwon branch of Kookmin Bank with a forged 10 billion won check is 60-year-old former police officer Choi Young-gil, who was with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency until 1990. Police say the mastermind of the scheme is Na Gyeong-sul, 51, a professional con man accused of forging the promissory note last August in Seoul.

On Tuesday, police said they identified Choi as the prime suspect from CCTV camera footage from the Jeongja branch of Kookmin Bank in Suwon, Gyeonggi on June 12. Choi allegedly handed a teller the check and asked that the sum be split into two accounts. The bank employee checked the serial number and balance of the account on which it was drawn. Choi then transferred the 10 billion won into dozens of other bank accounts under the names of 10 people he had paid to cooperate.

The 10 billion won belonged to a private lender surnamed Park who discovered on June 14 that his account had been wiped out when he visited a bank to withdraw some money.

According to Park, Choi asked him to lend him a certificate of deposit that showed a 10 billion won balance to make it seem like he had a large sum of money for his business dealings. As of Wednesday, police had arrested eight people who cooperated in splitting the money into different bank accounts in Myeong-dong.

One suspect, identified as Joo, 61, told the police the scheme was Na’s idea. In August last year, the Seocho Police Precinct arrested three people, including the chief official of a local bank branch, for forging a 4.7 billion won promissory note. The suspects borrowed the money after putting the note up as collateral. But Na and the forger evaded capture at the time. Police said accomplices like Joo received from 100 to 500 million won each for helping Choi and Na.

Police also think a bank official may have been involved, because Park told police he never showed the suspects such a check. Police put Choi on their wanted list on Wednesday and added Na yesterday. They also banned the two from leaving the country, but said the suspects may already be overseas.


BY YOON HO-JIN, KWON SANG-SOO [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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