We all know zebras can't change their stripes, and former Crazy Eddie CFO Sam Antar has taught us not to believe criminals when they claim they are sorry and repentant.
One Peter In Cho, the former head of a Chicago securities brokerage, was so repentant after he was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison for fraud, he decided to squeeze in a little more fraud because why not?
Cho, formerly of Arlington Heights, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of wire fraud and was sentenced in March 2008 to 5 years and 5 months in prison, but he didn’t have to surrender until February 2009. Over those months, Cho, a Korean-American, took out an ad in a local Korean-language newspaper touting investment opportunities on foreclosed real estate, prosecutors said.
An elderly Korean-American couple from Northbrook –described by Hogan as longtime family friends — gave Cho a $5,000 check to start searching for properties in August 2008, according to the indictment. Weeks later, they gave Cho an additional $30,000, prosecutors said.
By September 2008, Cho proposed the couple become partners in a phony real estate venture, the charges alleged. The couple – a machinist and nurse – had paid off their home mortgage but took out a $200,000 home equity loan for the venture among additional investments.
Cho funneled the money into his own accounts, piling up big losses in trades and spending tens of thousands of dollars on personal expenses, prosecutors said.
“The minute he was sentenced in the prior case he started this fraud and he solicited these people who turned out to be among his parents’ oldest friends,” Hogan said. “He took advantage of that relationship to basically steal their entire life savings. It’s a really tragic story. He’s ruined these peoples’ lives.”
Mind you, at the time he was sentenced for the first fraud, he begged the judge for mercy, two years prison, and home confinement.
Cojones, this dude has them.