Former Buena Park Mayor Sangjin Miller Oh was sentenced Wednesday to six months in jail and three years probation for using a fake name and other bogus information on DMV documents to avoid paying child support to his ex-wife.
Orange County Superior Court Judge John Adams also ordered Oh to perform 200 hours of community service, and to surrender Jan. 9 to begin serving the jail time.
If he violates any terms of his probation, he will be sent to prison for at least three years. If Oh fails to report to court to surrender to authorities on Jan. 9, then he will be sent to prison for eight years, Adams told the 50-year-old defendant.
Oh may have the option to do his time behind bars in a city jail, which he would pay for, defense attorney Allan Stokke said.
Oh declined comment after the hearing.
Oh, who had been a member of the City Council since 2010, relinquished his post as mayor following his May 30 conviction on five felony counts of perjury by declaration.
A real estate developer with two daughters, he told an undercover investigator in a recorded conversation that he paid someone $300 to get him a fraudulent driver’s license he could use to register vehicles and hide assets, Deputy District Attorney John Christl said.
Oh used his Roman Catholic confirmation name, “Robert,” and his “lunar birth date” on the license application, without disclosing that he had a license under another name, according to the prosecutor.
Another time, Oh did not disclose that his license had been suspended. On four other occasions, he used the fraudulently obtained license to register vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to Christl.
When campaigning for office in 2010, some forms, including his voter registration, contained conflicting birth dates and other inconsistencies, according to the prosecutor, who said the crimes were committed between Sept. 23, 2004, and July 20, 2009.
Christl argued for a three-year prison sentence, pointing to multiple occasions in which the defendant lied while filling out government forms and what he has listed on his resume.
For example, he said, Oh has stated that he studied economics at UCLA for three years. But although he enrolled in a three-month class, the university has no record of him ever stepping foot on campus, Christl said.
“This court cannot believe any of the statements Mr. Oh makes,” Christl said.
Even while using the bogus name on some public documents, Oh would make the signature appear differently than his given name, Christl said.
“If that’s not consciousness of guilt then I don’t know what is,” he said.
Three years in prison is “a fair and reasonable sentence and it sends a message to the community we won’t be taken advantage of,” Christl said.
Yolanda Campos, a special agent in the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, told Adams that the phony Social Security number that Oh obtained can never be erased from the system.
Stokke said that ultimately, his client paid the child support owed to his ex-wife. The attorney also said Oh gave his ex-wife $40,000 so she could open a beauty salon, bought a house for his family, and that his daughters consider him an “admirable father.”
Stokke argued that similar cases in which politicians were caught lying about their residency only received 90-day jail sentences in Los Angeles County.
Adams said he gave the sentence a “considerable amount of thought,” and told Oh, “Speaking on behalf of the residents of Orange County and your constituents in Buena Park, I am profoundly disappointed in you. Your lack of integrity has damaged the trust placed in you.”
It is especially critical “in this post-9/11 world” that the community relies on “truth and honesty,” Adams said.
— City News Service
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