Gambler Who Went on $1m Maryland Casino Spree Gets 42-Month Prison Term for Bank Fraud

  • Four years of supervised release will follow Sophia Kim’s 3.5-year jail term
  • The former comptroller and treasurer’s spree at a Maryland casino topped $1m
  • Kim must pay over $1.5m in restitution and over $1.5m in a forfeiture money judgment
  • Her public defender said she stole the money to fund an “untreated gambling addiction”
  • After Kim’s guilty plea in May, the USAO-DC said she could face up to 30 years in prison


shadow of prison bars on ground
After pleading guilty in May to embezzling over $1.5m to fund her gambling habit, Sophia Kim must now serve a 42-month prison term for bank fraud. [Image:]

Ex-ballet school comptroller behind bars

The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Columbia (USAO-DC) has announced the sentencing of a former Washington, D.C., ballet school comptroller and treasurer, Sophia Kim, to 42 months in prison for bank fraud.

The office proceeded to tweet the news of the 60-year-old’s September 15 sentencing, which includes four years of supervised release on completion of her prison term:

The Temple Hills, Maryland woman had previously pleaded guilty on May 6, 2021 to embezzling over $1.5m from her former employers, the Universal Ballet Foundation.

stole money because of “a gambling addiction and other financial problems”

According to the USAO-DC, Kim made unauthorized withdrawals, debits, and credit card charges at MGM National Harbor Casino in Oxon Hill, Maryland that reached a total of approximately $1,068,026. A 2019 FBI affidavit said Kim stole money because of “a gambling addiction and other financial problems.”

Besides the prison term, Honorable Rudolph Contreras ordered Kim to pay over $1.5m in restitution and the same amount in a forfeiture money judgment.

Attending Gambling Anonymous meetings

A USAO-DC news release stated that between approximately January 2018 and September 2018, Kim “misappropriated” around $1.5m from the bank accounts of the Universal Ballet-run Kirov Academy of Ballet “through unauthorized check, debit, and credit card transactions.”

misappropriated” around $1.5m from the bank accounts

The Idaho Statesman reported that the ballet academy fired Kim in September 2018 because of “performance issues.” According to the news publication, court documents stated that Kim then admitted to a colleague that she had withdrawn $800,000 from the charity’s bank account.

The Statesman also quotes the ex-comptroller’s public defender David W. Bos as saying in a sentencing memo that Kim stole the funds because of an “untreated gambling addiction.” Bos added that Kim has been attending “Gambling Anonymous” meetings for nearly the past two years.

Got off lightly?

A USAO-DC news release that followed Kim’s guilty plea in May said she could have been looking at “a statutory penalty of up to thirty years in prison.”

While 42 months is way off a 30-year stretch, it’s a year-and-a-half longer than Kim previously spent in a Virginia prison. In 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia convicted Kim for embezzling money from the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation. Following her conviction, the court sentenced her in 2013 to 24 months in a federal jail followed by three years’ supervised release.

Wednesday’s DOJ news release said Kim began committing her new Kirov Academy of Ballet embezzlement fiddle after “she had just completed a period of supervised release” following her earlier incarceration.

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