NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A Newport News substitute judge and lawyer pleaded guilty to two counts of tax fraud charges.
Nosuk Kim served on the bench as a substitute judge before resigning July 1st, 2022 and served previously on a state disciplinary committee for the Virginia State Bar, according to court officials.
The News 3 Investigative Team has been digging into the background of Nosuk Kim.
Her husband and business owner, Beyung Kim, was sentenced last August for his role in an elaborate scheme that wrongly awarded his company I-Tek millions of dollars in government contracts.
Federal prosecutors say Beyung Kim was sentenced to 58 months in prison, and his four employees were sentenced to a combined 93 months.
Court documents state that I-Tek got $7 million in government contracts that were supposed to be for disabled veterans and required items to be made in America. The group supplied clothing, promotional items and equipment to the military, and allegedly would switch the labels to hide the fact that they were coming from China.
Court records state that Nosuk Kim was not charged in the underlying fraud case against her husband and I-Tek.
New court document outline how in 2015, Nosuk Kim and her husband transferred "proceeds of a specified unlawful activity in the approximate amount of $969,002, all of which was taxable income, through an entity in China and the defendant's attorney-trust fund". The following year, Nosuk Kim and her husband transferred $1,249,780 through an entity in China and the defendant's attorney-trust fund.
The defendant did not properly account for $2,218,782 that she transferred through her attorney-trust fund, records indicate.
The approximate tax due and owing resulting from the defendant's evasion of income tax assessment for 2015 and 2016 is approximately $868,924.54, according to court records.
Nosuk Kim is currently listed as a substitute judge for District 7 in Newport News, according to the Virginia Court System.
The Newport News Circuit Court told News 3 Nosuk Kim resigned on July 1, 2022.
Leaders with the Virginia Court Sytem tell News 3 their records show she was first appointed in 2014.
The News 3 Investigative Team received the following information from the Virginia Court System: “Our records reflect that Ms. Kim was re-appointed as a substitute judge on March 3, 2020 for a term of six years, commencing on August 1, 2020. Our Office does not have supervisory authority over judges or substitute judges and does not have authority to conduct an investigation regarding a substitute judge. Our Office processes per diem payments to substitute judges for sitting in the district courts. Our records reflect that the most recent date of payment to Nosuk Kim for sitting as a substitute judge was March 25, 2022.”
News 3 requested that they provide information about who does have the authority to conduct an investigation regarding a substitute judge.
They replied: "Virginia Code § 16.1-69.22 [law.lis.virginia.gov] addresses the removal of judges and substitute judges. It provides that substitute judges may be removed from office under the provisions of §§ 24.2-230 through 24.2-238. Additionally, The Canons of Judicial Conduct, https://www.vacourts.gov/courts/scv/canons_of_judicial_conduct.pdf [vacourts.gov], apply to substitute judges. The Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission was created by the Constitution of Virginia to investigate charges of judicial misconduct or serious mental or physical disability."
Nosuk Kim is also a former member of the First Disciplinary District Committee and was appointed on July 1, 2019, according to the Virginia State Bar. This committee is one of 17 committees across the state that review bar complaints in their jurisdictions to determine whether there is sufficient evidence of a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
The Virginia State Bar also had no comment about the situation.
Nosuk Kim is listed as a co-founder of the law firm Cowardin and Kim in Newport News, according to their website. It states she is preeminent in immigration law and practices in the Eastern Virginia area and has for over 25 years represented clients of all nationalities who wish to work and stay in America.
We called the law firm and a person who answered the phone told News 3 no comment about the situation.
Federal prosecutors say the crimes her husband, Beyung Kim, committed took place from 2011 to 2018.
According to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office, Iris Kim, Inc., (aka “I-Tek”) owner Beyung S. Kim, 62, of Newport News, and employees Seung Kim, 31, of Newport News; Dongjin Park, 54, of Yorktown; Chang You, 62, of Yorktown; Pyongkon Pak, 53, of Toano; and Li-Ling Tu, 58, of China, engaged in a conspiracy and scheme related to certain government contracts for which I-Tek acted as a supplier of goods, including items for the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard and the National Guards of various states, among other agencies.
They were sentenced last August.
According to federal prosecutors, Beyung Kim and the employees obtained government contracts that had certain set-aside preferences and source-of-good requirements. They said the conspirators acted to defraud the U.S. and commit other substantive offenses by fraudulently importing goods into the U.S. that were made in China in violation of the terms of these contracts. They said they then falsely relabeled these goods as if they were made in the U.S.
Beyung Kim and his employees also acted through a separate nominee company to conceal the importing of goods from China and installed a nominee officer of I-Tek in order to be able to fraudulently qualify for contracts set aside for service-disabled veterans.
They said the conspirators also submitted false documents and further falsely classified the value of the goods imported into the U.S. to avoid higher duties and taxes.
“The defendant's egregious scheme caused the U.S. government to spend over $7 million on fraudulently imported goods. These funds were intended for deserving beneficiaries, including American workers, service-disabled veterans, and authorized trading partners,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This prosecution demonstrates our firm commitment to holding accountable those who defraud our military and brazenly disregard laws that are designed to protect the strength of our country’s infrastructure and manufacturing base.”
Law enforcement say the scheme threatened the readiness and safety of the military, defrauded taxpayers and damaged the integrity of the entire process all to make a profit.
Nosuk Kim has an initial appearance and bond hearing scheduled for July 28th in Richmond.
Her attorney sent News 3 the following statement when we asked for comment Tuesday, “I’m afraid it would be inappropriate to comment upon pending litigation.”