The Bellevue Police Department has arrested a suspect after an investigation revealed that the man had scammed elderly victims out of over $400,000.
The suspect, U Hyon Yi, befriended three elderly victims after doing odd jobs for them. Upon gaining the victims' trust, Yi asked to "borrow" several thousand dollars from the victims under the guise of starting a construction business. When the victims asked for their loans to be repaid, Yi gave the victims written IOUs, claimed that the IRS had put a freeze on his bank accounts because of a tax dispute, and promised to pay the victims back when the freeze was released. Yi never repaid any of the money that his victims gave him.
The Bellevue Police Department was first made aware of this scam in late 2012 when the executor of one of the victim's estates contacted police about suspicious transfers of funds into Yi's bank account. Bellevue Police Detectives, with assistance from the Kirkland Police Department, identified two additional victims and developed probable cause to arrest Yi in February of this year. Yi was arrested and admitted to stealing apprixomately $250,000 from the three elderly victims, and also admitted to lying to the victims about the IRS freeze. Yi has never had a business registered with the state of Washington.
"Elder abuse and exploitation is an ongoing problem in our community," says David G. Quinlan, spokesperson of the Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. "We see everything from financial, physical and emotional abuse. Look for red flags and if you suspect something wrong, report it to both law enforcement and the BBB."
If you believe you have been a victim of Yi's scam, you are encouraged to contact the Bellevue Police Department's tip line 425-452-2564 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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