Haena Park – a Harvard-grad financier – defrauded her closest friends and family members of more than $23 million, which was mostly contributed to bad investments.
On Tuesday, Judge Ronnie Abrams sentenced Haena Park, 41, to three years in federal prison. The government said Park had utilized her Harvard degree and Wall Street success to entice her friends, former classmates and relatives. Park pled guilty to defrauding investors on January 13, 2017.
Over a six-year period, Park lost an estimated $23 million from 40 investors. “You squandered it all,” Judge Abrams said.
Abrams said she was having difficulty trying to understand how the Ivy League-educated financier “could lie and steal from those you loved.” She did so by soliciting investments in several companies that prosecutors described to have “impressive-sounding names like Argenta Capital GP LLC and Phaetra Capital Management LP,” in court papers.
Even though Park had experienced massive losses, she continued to utilize fictitious claims of annual returns up to about 50 percent and false monthly statements to entice new investors. She went so far as to hide enormous losses that resulted from high-risk investments.
“It was selfish. It was arrogant. It was careless, and it was callous,” Judge Abrams said.
Park’s victims included immigrants who had spent the most of their life working multiple jobs, elderly who invested and lost their entire life savings and a paraplegic who allegedly lost $4 million, according to Christine Magdo, Assistant U.S. Attorney.
Magdo said, “She took away their [immigrants] American dream.”
Two of Park’s victims asked Judge Abrams to show her mercy, while some were “too devastated, too humiliated and too distraught” to open up about their losses and grief.
In a Manhattan federal court, Park apologized to the victims, saying she kept telling herself it was possible to win the money back.
“I was lying to myself,” she said. “I should have reached out for help.”