Gwinnett County

Man accused of stealing more than $300,000 from families in alleged Gwinnett County pyramid scheme

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County accused of scamming elderly Korean families out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a pyramid scheme faced a judge Wednesday, as victims packed the courtroom to demand justice.

Police told Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson that the alleged mastermind ran the scheme from a Duluth hotel and the number of victims could be larger than we know.

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John Kim, 61, faces five counts of felony theft as Gwinnett County Police say he took at least $300,000 from five people since 2020. There may be as many as 26 victims, a police officer testified, but many of the victims didn’t follow up with investigators.

“He’s a good talker,” said Sahng Min Han, a relative of one of the alleged victims.

Han says Kim took $10,000 from his mother-in-law by promising to invest her money in an online exchange called Club Mega Planet. Police say they found no evidence that Kim ever invested money once people started coming forward with concerns about where their money had gone.

“Once they invest money in him, they can also introduce another friend to him,” said Han. “That’s why it spread out very fast.”

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Kim allegedly met victims at church and met with them at the Embassy Suites in Duluth to collect their money. Most of the victims gave their money to Kim in cash, police said, but checks were also found in Kim’s account.

“He used that trick, ‘Okay I’m doing this for God so if we make a lot of money we can help a lot of people’ and blah blah blah,” said Han.

Officer B.J. Kerby testified that a review of Kim’s financial records showed money spent on himself but no record of money returned to investors.

“I saw payments going to hotels, rental cars, travel airlines,” said Kerby.

A judge granted a $10,000 bond for Kim despite concern from prosecutors that he’s a flight risk.

It was a disappointment for the victims’ families who are still hoping for justice and their money back.

“It is very important that he should be punished enough,” said Han.

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