Former County COO of Economic Development Guilty of Embezzling $6.7 Million
A Germantown resident and former Chief Operations Officer of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development has pleaded guilty to a scheme in which he embezzled more than $6.7 million from the Montgomery County government and failed to report the money as income on his tax returns.
Byung Il Bang, also known as, Peter Bang, 59, of the 17800 block of Cormorant Lane in Germantown, pleaded guilty on Friday, Nov. 16 to wire fraud and making false statements on his tax returns, it was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson of the Internal Revenue Service; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
“The County has cooperated fully with the Internal Revenue Service, the United States’ Attorney, and the State’s Attorney in their investigations,” said County Executive Ike Leggett, in statement. “We also have worked closely on the matter with the County’s independent Inspector General, and the County has retained two independent auditing firms to review the County’s system of management and control as well as past transactions in which Mr. Bang had been involved.”
According to his plea agreement, from 2010 through July 2016, Bang was the COO of the Department of Economic Development for Montgomery County. In 2016, the MC-DED was privatized and Bang’s position was moved to the Montgomery County Department of Finance, where he was employed until May 2017.
“Stealing money from County taxpayers is one of the worst things that any public employee can engage in. That’s exactly what this individual has done,” said Leggett.
The MC-DED established business incubator and/or innovation centers throughout the County with different areas of focus, such as computer technology, biological technology, and small minority - and women-owned businesses, to help small businesses by giving them below-market rent, placing them in an environment with other small businesses, and providing education on how to run a business. As MC-DED COO, Bang oversaw budgets for these incubators and was authorized to request disbursement of County funds to the incubators. Bang’s position also enabled him to authorize and direct the disbursement of money from County partners, including the Maryland Economic Development Corporation, and the Maryland Conference & Visitors Bureau, without any significant oversight or approval.