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Three North Koreans Infiltrated US Companies in ‘Staggering’ Alleged Telecommuting Fraud (DOJ)

The Justice Department on Thursday unsealed an indictment charging three North Korean workers and a U.S. citizen with engaging in “staggering fraud” through an elaborate scheme in which they obtained illegal work with a number of U.S. companies and government agencies.

The indictment against the North Korean computer scientists – using the pseudonyms Jiho Han, Chunji Jin and Haoran Xu – alleges that the group used fraudulent identities belonging to 60 real Americans to obtain telecommuting positions between October 2020 and 2023 , which ultimately generated nearly $7 million in 2020 profits for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Prosecutors further claim the group was aided by U.S. national Christina Chapman in its efforts to obtain remote workstations, whom they accuse of installing laptops owned by U.S. companies in various residences to which the North Koreans could then gain access. She also allegedly received paychecks for the group and forged the signatures of the intended beneficiaries in order to transfer the funds into her bank, then transferring them to the North Koreans while charging them monthly fees for her services, according to the deed. ‘charge.

“The conspiracy perpetrated a staggering fraud across a multitude of industries, at the expense of generally unwitting American businesses and individuals,” the indictment states. “It affected more than 300 U.S. businesses, compromised the identities of U.S. persons, caused false information to be submitted to DHS (Department Of Homeland Security) on more than 100 occasions, created false tax obligations for more than 35 U.S. persons and resulted in at least $6.8 million in revenue for overseas IT workers.

Among the companies allegedly defrauded in the scheme are “a top five national television network and media company, a leading Silicon Valley technology company, an aerospace and defense manufacturer, an automobile manufacturer American icon, an upscale retail chain and one of the world’s most recognizable media and entertainment companies, all ranked in the Fortune 500,” according to the indictment.

The workers also allegedly attempted to obtain employment and access information from two unnamed U.S. government agencies on three occasions, according to the indictment, although those attempts were identified and thwarted.

The three North Koreans remain at large, according to the DOJ. Court records do not indicate whether Chapman was arrested and she did not immediately retain an attorney for her.

The State Department said in a statement Thursday that it would offer a reward of up to $5 million for information about the computer scientists and the large-scale disruption of their project.

ABC News

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