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Former Korean Airlines Guam office manager gets 41 months for bank fraud

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

A former manager of Korean Airlines Guam office has been sentenced to serve 41 months behind bars after being convicted of bank fraud and money laundering.

The District Court of Guam also ordered Sung Peel Hwang, a.k.a. Don Sung Peel Hwang,  to $615, 271.51 in restitution and a mandatory $200 special assessment fee. 

The court also ordered five years of supervised release for Hwang, 39, a South Korean-born naturalized U.S. citizen.

According to the U.S. District Attorney for Guam and the Northern Marianas, Hwang defrauded his employer and embezzled over $600,000 from September 2015 to December 2018 when he was employed as an administrator for the Korean Air Lines Guam office at the Guam International Airport. 

KAL operated commercial passenger flights between Guam and South Korea. All airlines operating out of GIAA are required to report the number of passengers on their flights and to pay a corresponding Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) to GIAA.

As an administrator at the Guam KAL office, Hwang’s duties included reporting the number of passengers and paying the corresponding PFC, procuring, and paying for other office supplies and services, and acting as one of two co-signatories on KAL Guam’s business checking account at the Bank of Guam. As one part of his scheme,

Defendant Hwang underreported the PFC owed to GIAA and kept the difference between the actual PFC owed and the PFC paid for himself. Throughout the three-year scheme, Hwang deposited over $3.5 million in KAL funds into his personal bank account and diverted over $600,000.00 in KAL funds for personal use.


“Hwang cheated his employer and GIAA out of a substantial sum of money,” U.S. Attorney Shawn Anderson said.  “Fortunately, GIAA’s auditing procedures eventually revealed this scheme.  The sentence imposed by the Court is a strong message of accountability and deterrence.  I applaud our federal law enforcement partners for their hard work in bringing Hwang to justice.”


“The FBI is focused on addressing financial crimes that have an impact on our communities,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “This sentence should give pause to others who consider engaging in similar criminal conduct.”


“Mr. Hwang’s greed may have netted him a temporary windfall, but at great cost to those he stole from and to the detriment of his community,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Adam Jobes. “Today’s sentencing shows that CI is committed to fighting financial crime, and making sure that fraudsters pay the just cost for those crimes.”


The investigation was conducted by the FBI Guam Resident Agency and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. This case was prosecuted by Benjamin K. Petersburg, Assistant United States Attorney, District of Guam.

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