Customs broker arrested on federal indictment alleging tax evasion and scheme to defraud Japanese retail chain of $3.4 million | USAO-CDCA
SANTA ANA, California – A customs broker was arrested today on a federal grand jury indictment accusing him of evading payment of $1.5 million in taxes and engaging in a fraud scheme. $3.4 million wire fraud that overcharged a Japanese variety store customer on customs duties.
Frank Seung Noah, 59, of Corona, has surrendered to law enforcement and is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana. He is charged with one count of tax evasion and three counts of wire fraud.
According to the indictment, Noah owned and operated Comis International Inc., a Cerritos-based logistics and supply chain company that provided import customs brokerage services on behalf of businesses. From 2007 to 2019, Comis was a customs import broker for Daiso, a Japan-based variety and value store with stores in the United States, including Southern California.
From March 2016 to February 2019, Noah – acting through Comis – paid import duties to United States Customs and Border Protection on behalf of Daiso. Noah then allegedly submitted invoices to Daiso that fraudulently inflated the import duties Noah had paid to CBP. As a result of Noah’s scheme, Daiso paid the inflated bills, which resulted in Noah fraudulently obtaining a total of at least approximately $3,379,774, according to the indictment.
For example, on September 15, 2017, Daiso wired $192,486 to a bank account controlled by Noah, of which approximately $74,840 resulted from inflated bills, according to the indictment.
Noah also allegedly deliberately attempted to evade payment of approximately $1,562,684 in federal taxes that the IRS imposed on him for calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2010. He allegedly did so by making small payments to the ‘IRS, while making much larger payments on mortgages for properties he controlled – even though they were purchased in his girlfriend’s name – including his Corona residence purchased in 2016 and a vacation property in Rancho Mirage which was purchased the following year.
Noah allegedly used funds transferred to his girlfriend’s bank account to pay the mortgage on the Corona property and at a country club. In September 2017, after Noah received approximately $147,148 from the sale of a property he owned in Carson, he wrote his girlfriend a check for $120,000. He also allegedly misreported to the IRS during this time by underreporting his income.
From 2014 to 2017, Noah reportedly cashed more than $7 million in checks instead of depositing the funds into his personal or business bank accounts to conceal his control over those funds.
Including penalties and interest, as of February 2022, Noah owed the IRS approximately $2,012,618, according to the indictment.
An indictment contains allegations that an accused has committed a crime. All accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court.
If convicted on all charges, Noah faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in federal prison for the tax evasion count and 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count.
IRS Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and US Customs and Border Protection investigated the matter.
Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel Ahn and Daniel Lim of the Santa Ana Branch are prosecuting the case.