IRS agent charged with identity theft after Upper East Side condo purchase

An Internal Revenue Service agent was arrested after allegedly stealing someone's identity and using it to purchase a co-op apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Yong Hee Cho, 49, faces 10 counts of possessing a fake foreign passport; aggravated identity theft; making false statements during a background check and wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Cho obtained identifying information for an individual during an IRS investigation, according to the indictment, which he used to create false identification documents and open a corporate entity overseas in the stolen identity, according to the DOJ.

"As alleged, the defendant repeatedly betrayed the trust placed in him as a federal law enforcement officer to further his own schemes by misusing information to which he had access by virtue of his official assignments," stated Acting United States Attorney Seth D. DuCharme.  "Today’s charges show that no one is above the law, and that this Office remains committed to rooting out corruption wherever it lurks." 

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Among the false documents was a passport in the stolen name for the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. 

Cho also allegedly forged tax returns and bank statements that inflated his income and assets to gain approval for the purchase of the co-op. He also funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a foreign bank account to pay for the apartment.

Cho has been employed as a Special Agent with Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation since 2008..  He could face 20 years in prison for the top count of wire fraud.