Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Leader of Fake Documents Ring Gets 6 Years

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Leader of Fake Documents Ring Gets 6 Years

Article excerpt

When former Fort Lee accountant Young-Kyu Park was arrested two years ago for leading a multistate ring providing fake driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally, he took several members of his family down with him.

His wife, his daughter and his nephew were among 22 people charged criminally with helping the scheme.

But it was a family member's loyalty to him -- and her explanation of Park's misdirected loyalty to his family -- that prompted a measure of judicial mercy at his sentencing in federal court Thursday.

Park's daughter, Hanna, appeared in court to issue a tearful appeal to a judge for lenience toward her father. Charges against her had been dismissed in 2013, and she had flown in from California to support him.

Hanna Park said she is living in South Korea and has a job cleaning an apartment building, and had made the journey to support her father.

She said Park, 58, an immigrant from South Korea, had been so fixated on winning his family's affection that he broke the laws of his adopted country to provide a lifestyle that included flute lessons and private-school tuition.

"I'm here to support my dad, despite the wrongdoing and the damage he has caused," Hanna Park said in the U.S. District Court in Newark.

But Judge Faith S. Hochberg said that Park's scheme exposed holes in the system the state used to check the identities of driver's license applicants and potentially opened the country to threats from terrorists who could have used the fraudulent documents to board planes or enter federal buildings.

"You came to this country and flouted its rules, which shows a lack of gratitude," Hochberg said from the bench in addressing Park, who sat, shackled, in a yellow prison jumpsuit.

Nevertheless, Hochberg said, she took Hanna Park's statement into account in determining Park's sentence: 72 months in federal prison. …

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