5 Individuals Charged in Scheme to Defraud American Companies

3 North Koreans, 1 Arizona Woman, 1 Ukrainian Male

Five individuals were indicted by the DOJ on May 16 with infiltrating US companies and government agencies to benefit the North Korean nuclear program. The alleged fraud involved 3 North Koreans, 1 Arizona woman, and a Ukrainian male that managed to infiltrate 300 companies for a net profit to the DPRK of nearly $7 Million. A reward has been offered for information on the North Koreans of up to $5 Million.

“Using the stolen identities of U.S. citizens is a crime by itself, but when you use those identities to procure employment for foreign nationals with ties to North Korea at hundreds of U.S. companies, you have compromised the national security of an entire nation.” Chief Guy Ficco of IRS-CI

The incidents occurred between October 2020 and October 2023 according to the AP. The indictment was unsealed on Thursday last week and involved Arizona resident Christina Marie Chapman and Oleksandr Didenko, a Ukrainian national. Chapman was arrested on May 15 in Arizona and Didenko arrested on May 6 in Poland. They were charged with “conspiracy to defraud the United States, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud, identity fraud, and bank fraud.” The US is working to have Didenko extradited.

The three North Koreans are known only by their aliases of Jiho Han, Haoran Xu, and Chunji Jin.

According to the indictment, the overseas IT workers associated with Chapman, many of whom were tied to North Korea, posed as U.S. citizens using the stolen, false, or borrowed identities of U.S. nationals, and applied for positions at U.S companies, causing the transmission of false documentation to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The overseas IT workers gained employment at U.S. companies, including at a top-five major television network, a Silicon Valley technology company, an aerospace manufacturer, an American car manufacturer, a luxury retail store, and a U.S.-hallmark media and entertainment company, all of which were Fortune 500 companies. Some of these companies were purposely targeted by a group of DPRK IT workers, who maintained postings for companies at which they wanted to insert IT workers.

Chapman ran a “laptop farm,” hosting the overseas IT workers’ computers inside her home so it appeared that the computers were located in the United States, and also received and forged payroll checks and received direct deposits of the overseas IT workers’ wages from the U.S. companies into her U.S. financial accounts. The overseas IT workers also attempted to gain employment and access to information at two different U.S. government agencies on three different occasions, although these efforts were generally unsuccessful. The overseas IT workers associated with Chapman’s cell were paid millions for their work, much of which has been falsely reported to the IRS and the Social Security Administration in the name of the actual U.S. persons whose identities were stolen or borrowed. Chapman also allegedly conspired with the John Doe defendants to commit money laundering by conducting financial transactions under aliases to receive money generated by the scheme and transfer those funds outside of the United States, in an attempt to hide that these were proceeds of the IT workers’ fraud. DOJ release

Didenko, who managed approximately 871 “proxy identities,” faces the possibility of over 67 years in prison and Chapman 97.5 years. The three North Koreans 20 years each, IF they can be arrested. If they are in North Korea at this time, the prospect of such an arrest is zero.

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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. She has been writing at Conservative Firing Line since 2013 as well. She is also a published author.

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