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Irvine couple arrested in Ponzi scheme

March 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The chairman of an Irvine investment firm and his girlfriend were arrested Tuesday, accused of running an $8 million dollar Ponzi scheme that targeted Korean Americans.FBI special agents arrested Euirang Hwang, 36, and Sang Yi, 39, at a house in Corona. They appeared in Santa Ana Federal Court Tuesday afternoon, and were ordered held without bail.

Hwang was the founder and chairman of Pinupito, Inc., an Irvine investment company. Yi was the president and secretary of the company, and controlled its finances and bank accounts.

According to the indictment in the case, Hwang and Yi promised investors annual returns of up to 45 percent. They claimed that Pinupito generated income by buying smaller companies in Korea, growing them, and selling them for a large profit.

The indictment alleges that the two lied to investors. Hwang and Yi are accused of using the investors money to fund a luxury lifestyle, including luxury car leases, and personal expenses and to pay returns to existing investors.

They are set to be arraigned in Federal Court in Santa Ana on Monday.