Former Economic Development Officer Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $6.7 Million

Byung Il “Peter” Bang, a Montgomery County government employee for many years, pled guilty Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to embezzling $6.7 million in county funds that were earmarked to assist small businesses, according to a press release form the U.S. Justice Department.

Bang, a Germantown resident, was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Department of Economic Development for Montgomery County Maryland (MC-DED) from 2010 through 2016. 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.

The MC-DED established business incubator centers throughout the County 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 (MEDCO), and the Maryland Conference & Visitors Bureau, without any significant oversight or approval.

Bang admitted that he fraudulently authorized the disbursement of $6. 7 million from the Montgomery County government to fraudulent bank accounts that he created and controlled.

Bang did not report the money he embezzled as income on his individual tax returns.  His failure to report those funds as income resulted in over $2 million in taxes due to the IRS.

Bang also admitted that he lied on his County financial disclosure statements for the years 2012 through 2016, by failing to disclose his interest in the fraudulent accounts, including: property holdings; his relationship with an income source; and the type and amount of income he received.

As part of his plea agreement, Bang is required to pay restitution in the full amount of the victims’ losses, and to plead guilty in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, to the state charges of theft scheme over $100,000, and misconduct in office.

Bang faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud, and three years in prison for making false statements on his tax returns.

A sentencing hearing for Bang is scheduled for Feb. 22.


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