Former Treasurer and Comptroller of the Universal Ballet Foundation Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison for Bank Fraud

            WASHINGTON – Sophia Kim, the former Treasurer and Comptroller for the Universal Ballet Foundation, which operated the Kirov Academy of Ballet, was sentenced today to 42 months in prison for embezzling more than $1.5 million from the organization.

            The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division Wayne A. Jacobs.

            Kim, a/k/a “Sophia Kim Sebold” and “Sookyeong Kim Sebold,” pleaded guilty in May 2021 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of bank fraud. She was sentenced by the Honorable Rudolph Contreras. In addition to the prison term, Kim 60, of Temple Hills, Md., was ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution and an identical amount in a forfeiture money judgment. Following completion of her prison term, she will be placed on four years of supervised release.

            The Kirov Academy of Ballet is a non-profit organization located in the District of Columbia. According to court documents, between approximately January 2018 and September 2018, Kim misappropriated approximately $1.5 million from the organization’s bank accounts through unauthorized check, debit, and credit card transactions.

            This consisted of 68 unauthorized checks to “Cash” or to “Sophia Kim,” in whole-dollar amounts ranging from $500 to $12,000, totaling approximately $377,200, 197 unauthorized debits and cash withdrawals, totaling approximately $479,283, and 139 unauthorized credit card transactions, totaling approximately $681,751.  More than $1 million of unauthorized debits and withdrawals and credit card charges were at MGM National Harbor Casino in Oxon Hill, MD, totaling approximately $1,068,026. 

            At the time that Kim began committing these offenses, she had just completed a period of supervised release for an earlier conviction stemming from her work as a bookkeeper and treasurer of another non-profit. In that case, she was convicted in 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on charges of filing a false tax return and tax evasion and sentenced to two years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

            In announcing the sentence, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips and Special Agent in Charge Jacobs commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Angeline Thekkumthala, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua Rothstein and David Kent, who investigated and prosecuted this matter.

 

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