Former DC Comptroller Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement Charges in Gambling Case

The Kirov Ballet School has been in the news lately, due to its connection with a gambling embezzlement scheme. The former comptroller of the Washington DC school recently pled guilty to defrauding the business out of $1.5 million, using the money to fund her gambling habit.

Details of the Case

Prosecutors in the case revealed details regarding the actions of the defendant. Sophia Kim is a 60-year-old who worked in the position as the comptroller. She was able to use her position to obtain the money and then gamble at the MGM National Harbor, located in Maryland. She also took money to pay off debts that were accrued at the casino.

Reverend Sun Myung Moon established the dance school and is also the founder of the Unification Church. Kim has worked with the Church for some time, and surprisingly, she has been prosecuted before after stealing money from an organization operated by the Church.

Back in 2013, Kim was working for the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation when she was found to have taken money from programs and used the funds to gamble. She would visit casinos in New Jersey to play. For this action, Kim spent two years in prison.

It is unclear as to why Kim was hired again by the Church and put in charge of the finances for the school. It seems the Church forgave Kim for her previous actions only to become a victim yet again.

Over $1.5 Million Stolen

From January to September 2018, Kim took over $1.5 million from the bank accounts of the school. She used credit cards, debit cards, and checks to steal the funds. She used the money like it was her personal account to play gambling games.

Kim was arrested in November 2019 at the MGM National Harbor. The arrest took place at the school noticed the transactions at the casino. The officials of the school contacted the FBI and that is how the arrest took place.

Acting United States Attorney Channing D. Phillips commented on the case, stating that for almost a year, Kim used her position within the school to steal a large amount of money. Phillips said that there is no tolerance for offenders who take money from businesses and institutions that make the district great.

In total, Kim completed 120 unauthorized debits and withdrawals plus 120 credit card charges at MGM National Harbor Casino. This amount was completed over a nine-month time frame. Kim spent a great deal of time at the casino and racked up quite a debt, which led her to take a large amount from the ballet school.

Of the charges she faces, Kim may spend up to 30 years in prison. The charge carries a fine of up to $1 million or twice the gain or loss of the offense. Her sentencing is scheduled for September 15, 2021. We shall see in the coming months how the DC court decides to sentence Kim for her actions regarding the theft from her former place of employment.

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Rebecca
Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.