Korean American Man Recovers Money Stolen By Foster Parents

It took more than seven years but Markus Min Ho Kim finally recovered more than $400,000 stolen from him by his foster parents, according to news reports.

Kim, 25, entered the New York state foster care system more than a decade ago after his father was sent to prison for fatally stabbing his mother. He was to receive the insurance money from his mother’s policy when he turned 18, but his foster parents swindled him out of it and moved to Florida, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Radhames and Asia Oropeza, both now serving three-year prison sentences, convinced Kim in 2005 to put the proceeds of his mother’s life insurance policy into two certificates of deposit.

They told him the CDs would protect his money and that he would earn $1,000 a month just from the interest. Kim would later say his foster mother signed the documents, too. He thought she was there to help.

But after a few months, the interest checks stopped coming. Kim called the bank and eventually found out the CDs had been closed.

What federal prosecutors would later say: The Oropezas withdrew large amounts of money from the certificates of deposit and spent it on real estate investment properties. Kim’s name was forged on the documents.

“I was distraught, to say the least, and I needed their advice,” said Kim, at a news conference. “It was probably one of my biggest mistakes. I wanted to trust them more than anything.”

Kim, now working as a stagehand in New York City, emigrated with his biological parents to the United States from South Korea when he was 5 years old. In New York, his father owned a jewelry store; his mother ran a beauty salon. In 2000, Kim’s mother, Ji Sun Kim, was murdered. Kim’s father, Yung Hu Kim, was convicted of the crime and sent to prison in New York, according to the St. Petersburg Times.