MAN SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZELING OVER $889,000 FROM KIA MOTORS AMERICA WITH HIS SISTER AND HER HUSBAND

For Immediate Release
Case # 06hf1161

 


September 24, 2010

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

MAN SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZELING OVER $889,000 FROM KIA MOTORS AMERICA WITH HIS
SISTER AND HER HUSBAND

 

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today for embezzling over $889,000 from Kia Motors America (Kia) with his brother-in-law and sister, who was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) at Kia. Long Ngoc Ho, 50, pleaded guilty Aug. 10, 2007, to one felony count of grand theft, three felony counts of money laundering, and sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage over $150,000, and causing loss over $100,000. Ho was sentenced to two years and four months in state prison. Ho’s sentence was stayed and his charges were reduced to misdemeanors for his cooperation in the prosecution of this case.

 

Ho’s sister, Cecile Nhung Campbell, 55, pleaded guilty Oct. 31, 2008, to one felony count of grand theft, one felony count of receiving stolen property, three felony counts of computer access and fraud, three felony counts of money laundering, one felony count of filing false tax returns, and sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage over $150,000, and causing loss over $100,000. Cecile Campbell was sentenced June 25, 2010, to six years and four months in state prison, was ordered to pay restitution of $624,930 to Kia, and $83,138 to the California Franchise Tax Board.

 

Cecile Campbell’s ex-husband, Mel Wayne Campbell, 56, pleaded guilty May 27, 2010, to one felony count of receiving stolen property, three felony counts of money laundering, and sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage over $150,000, and causing loss over $100,000. He was sentenced to four years in state prison.

 

In 2002, Cecile Campbell worked in the accounting department of Kia. On three occasions between May and July 2002, Cecile Campbell made three high-dollar wire transfers totaling over $889,000 to a Wells Fargo account. The account was opened by Ho under the fictitious business name U.S. Customs Service Detail. Ho created this account to resemble the legitimate federal United States Customs Service, which collects import duties on shipments of automobiles that arrive in the United States.

 

Mel and Cecile Campbell laundered the stolen money into personal accounts and used the embezzled funds to pay off the lines of credit on the Campbell’s house, which they had maxed out for the full value of the credit line and used for personal expenses. They repeated this fraudulent scam four times.

 

Kia discovered the theft and reported it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Mel Campbell was arrested June 21, 2006 at his home in Laguna Niguel. Ho was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on June 21, 2006, while trying to re-enter the United States from Vietnam. Cecile Campbell turned herself in on June 22, 2006. Mel and Cecile Campbell were married at the time of the crime but have since divorced.

 

This case was investigated by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, FBI, and California Franchise Tax Board. Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche of the Major Fraud Unit prosecuted this case.