SANTA ANA – A customs broker was arrested Feb. 10 on a federal grand jury indictment charging him with evading the payment of $1.5 million in taxes and engaging in a $3.4 million wire fraud scheme that overcharged a Japanese variety store client on customs duties.
Frank Seung Noah, 59, of Corona self-surrendered to law enforcement and was expected to be arraigned in U.S. 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 logistics and supply-chain company based out of Cerritos, which offered customs import 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 U.S., including Southern California.
From March 2016 until February 2019, Noah – acting through Comis – paid customs import duty fees to U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Daiso’s behalf. Noah then allegedly submitted invoices to Daiso that fraudulently inflated the customs import duty fees that Noah had paid to CBP. As a result of Noah’s scheme, Daiso paid the inflated invoices, causing Noah to fraudulently obtain a total of at least approximately $3,379,774, the indictment alleges.
For example, on Sept. 15, 2017, Daiso wired $192,486 to a Noah-controlled bank account, of which approximately $74,840 was a result of inflated invoices, according to the indictment.
Noah also allegedly willfully attempted to evade the payment of approximately $1,562,684 in federal taxes which the IRS assessed against him for the calendar years 2008, 2009 and 2010. He allegedly did so by making small payments to the IRS, all while making much larger payments on mortgages for properties he controlled – even though they were bought in his girlfriend’s name – including his Corona residence purchased in 2016 and a vacation property in Rancho Mirage that 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 to a country club. In September 2017, after Noah received approximately $147,148 from the sale of a property he owned in Carson, he wrote a $120,000 check to his girlfriend. He also allegedly made false statements to the IRS during this time by underreporting his income.
From 2014 to 2017, Noah allegedly cashed more than $7 million in checks instead of depositing the funds into his personal or business bank accounts to conceal his control over such funds.
Including penalties and interest, as of February 2022, Noah owes approximately $2,012,618 to the IRS, according to the indictment.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted of all charges, Noah would face a statutory maximum 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 U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigated this matter.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Ahn and Daniel Lim of the Santa Ana Branch Office are prosecuting this case.