BofA VP Waltzed With $75,000, Couple Say

HONOLULU (CN) – A married couple claim a vice president of Bank of America Home Loans waltzed with their $75,000 – part of $1 million he allegedly stole from customers before disappearing. They sued Michael Kim and Bank of America in Oahu Circuit Court.

     Robin and Frances Kaneshiro describe Kim as a slick operator in their 9-page complaint. They say he used information obtained from their mortgage refinance application to give them unsolicited investment advice.
     The Kaneshiros say they sought only to refinance, but Kim told them that based on his review of their assets “they would qualify for better investment opportunities,” and “that he provided financing for his preferred/repeat BOA loan customers having immediate cash needs. Defendant Kim told plaintiffs that these customers are good loan candidates and will be ultimately approved within 45 days.”
     The Kaneshiros say Kim persuaded them to fork over a certified check for $75,000. Kim allegedly gave it to a “realtor associate” for an investment, and three days later Kim paid them $80,000.
     Then, they say, Kim “brought up a further investment opportunity.”
     They say they forked over $75,000 again, which Kim guaranteed with “a promissory note in the amount of $90,000” and “a personal check in the same amount.”
     And that was the last they saw of Mr. Kim.
     The Kaneshiros say a Bank of America representative told them on Dec. 28, 2010, that “Kim was no longer employed with defendant BoA. Obviously, this concerned them due to the fact that defendant Kim owed them $75,000, which was due in a few days, on Jan. 7, 2011.”
     On Jan. 6 this year, the Hawaii Reporter, a 9-year-old online newspaper, reported that the FBI was investigating allegations that Kim had stolen “at least $1 million of customer funds to repay personal gambling debts.”
     Bank of America was cooperating with the FBI, but Kim’s whereabouts were unknown, according to that report.
     In a “strange twist,” according to the Kaneshiros’ complaint, BOA had filed a foreclosure action against Kim in 2007, but “he was never personally served with the complaint notwithstanding that he worked in defendant BoA’s office at the time. It also appears that defendant BoA was aware of the foreclosure action against its own employee.”
     Bank of America’s Honolulu office did not respond to Courthouse News’ request for information about the case.
     The Kaneshiros seek punitive damages for fraud, misrepresentation, consumer law violations, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.
     They are represented by Lyle Hosoda.

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