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Bergen Broker Gets 18 Months In Fed Pen For 'Short Sale' Scam

Martin Luther King Jr. federal courthouse in Newark
Martin Luther King Jr. federal courthouse in Newark Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT

A Bergen County real estate broker was sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison for his role in a $4.6 million “short-sale” scheme.

Steve Young Kang, 66, of Ridgefield, and others sold properties to an accomplice, Mehdi Kassai, for substantially less than they were worth, Acting Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney and Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal said.

The conspirators used false documents, straw buyers and cosmetic property damage, while also restricting the ability of others to bid on and buy those properties, Agarwal said.

Kassai then “sold many of those properties to third-parties at a substantial profit,” conning financial institutions out of $2.7 million, he said.

Kang – also known as “Young Tae Kang” – took a deal from the government rather than face trial.

He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark to bank and wire fraud.

Kang must serve out the entire term because there’s no parole in the federal prison system.

U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini also sentenced Kang to three years of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $835,248 in proceeds from the scheme. Restitution will be determined at a later date.

Kassai previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and is awaiting sentencing.

Agarwal credited the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General and special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations with making the case that led to Kang’s plea and sentencing, secured by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charlie Divine and Kevin Di Gregory of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General.

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