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Former Montgomery Co. economic development COO sentenced to 4 years

The former chief operating officer for the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development who admitted to embezzling $6.7 million in county funds was sentenced to four years in prison by a federal judge Friday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

Byung Il “Peter” Bang, 59, pleaded guilty in November to charges related to the theft. His sentence will be finalized March 1 after a hearing on restitution, according to a news release from the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Bang was with the Department of Economic Development from 2010 to 2016 and moved to the Montgomery County Department of Finance in May 2017. In 2010, the county and the Chungcheongbuk-Do province of South Korea entered an agreement to develop an incubator fund.

Bang, who oversaw business incubators and was authorized to disburse county funds to them, incorporated Chungbuk Incubator Fund LLC and opened four bank accounts in the company’s name. He fraudulently disbursed $6,705,669.37 from the county government between 2010 and 2016 to the accounts. He admitted that he used most of the money to support a gambling addiction.

Bang did not report the embezzled funds on his tax returns and owes roughly $2.3 million to the Internal Revenue Service, according to the news release. He also lied to the county on financial disclosure statements by not noting his interest in the Chungbuk entities.

“Mr. Bang lied to his colleagues, government officials and the IRS over an extended period of time,” U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a statement. “The $6.7 million that he embezzled deprived Montgomery County taxpayers of funds that could have been used for schools, libraries and other expenditures, and harmed the County’s reputation. Corrupt public employees undermine everyone’s faith in government.”

Bang previously pleaded guilty to state charges for theft scheme and misconduct in office in Montgomery County Circuit Court. He will be sentenced there March 7. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis ordered his federal sentence be served concurrent with a state sentence.

“Through strong federal and county cooperation and investigation we were able to bring Mr. Bang to justice,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. “It is important that people who betray the public trust be held accountable.”

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