Signed documents seemed like lucrative contracts with a manufacturer. Instead, the Secret Service says a manager falsified paperwork and forged signatures to reap thousands in bonuses from his unsuspecting employer — and cost the business millions.
Sung Wook Kim, who also goes by Paul Kim, surrendered to federal authorities on Thursday. He faces charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Nexien Inc., a staffing solutions company based in New Jersey, hired Kim at its Newberry location in May 2016 and promoted him to general manager of its Samsung Electronics Home Appliances America LLC unit.
More than a year after taking the position, which came with a $130,000 salary and housing, authorities say he started flimflamming his employer with fake contracts. An affidavit filed in South Carolina federal court lists three:
On Sept. 10, 2019, Kim told his employer Samsung wanted to outsource its plant operations entirely and wanted Nexien to handle the process.
Kim told Nexien in February 2020 that Samsung wanted the staffing company to act as construction manager for work in Maryville, Tennessee — Kim said Samsung was taking over the Denso plant, which manufactures auto parts, for its Samsung Electronics Visual Display America division even though Denso still operates the plant.
In November, he told his bosses Nexien was selected to take over inbound quality control at Samsung’s Newberry plant.
Kim shared documentation, including signed contracts, with Nexien and even provided updates on the nonexistent projects, the affidavit said. At the same time, Kim provided excuse after excuse for why Nexien hadn’t received invoices from Samsung, even claiming a team from the company contracted COVID-19.
“Kim acknowledged sending numerous emails to Nexien trying to delay invoices from the fraudulent projects,” the affidavit said. “Finally, on or about late December 2020, Kim admitted to Nexien executives, via text messages that the contracts would receive no payments.”
This month, he told law enforcement the projects never existed and said, “these projects do not exist and therefore there are no payments to be received, nor is there anyone who embezzled money.” Kim also told authorities he lied about his education and did not receive math or physics degrees from Columbia University in New York as he had claimed.
After these fake projects led the company to take on expenses such as hiring employees and leasing office space, Nexien reported spending more than $4 million. The charging document says Kim received about $139,000 in bonuses as a result of the contracts.