US woman gave remote jobs, salary, aided North Korea’s arms programme

A woman was provided for providing North Koreans with part of the American Dream — a secure job and a generous salary while being in dictator Kim Jong Un’s North Korea.How did she accomplish this? By stealing the identities of American people.Christina Chapman, and three North Korean nationals, have been charged for their “staggering” plot, reports the BBC. Chapman is being charged with nine counts of conspiring to commit fraud against the US.The North Korean IT professionals were made to pose as Americans and gain jobs and thereby income from US companies, said the prosecutors. The investigations are revealing how the scheme involved the theft of identities of 60 people and produced almost $7m (£5.5m) in funds that were sent back to North Korea. The court documents highlight a bigger problem that US officials have been facing — the attempt by North Korean IT professionals to channel money to Pyongyang, according to CNN.The US State Department offers $5 million for “information that leads to the disruption” of North Korean financial frauds.This does not seem like a mere financial fraud. Reports are revealing that the money might have been sent to North Korea’s weapons programme. The plot involves 300 US companies and began in October 2020. Several companies were uninformed about the scheme, and they even involved a few Fortune 500 companies and even a big TV network, a “premier” Silicon Valley tech company and an “iconic” American auto manufacturer. The Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, is home to tech giants and several start-ups. Chapman was allegedly running a “laptop farm” from her home. Here, she logged into the laptops given by the companies to make it look like the North Korean professionals were working from the US. “In exchange, Chapman charged monthly fees to the overseas IT workers for her services, enriching herself off the scheme”, reads the document. She even attempted to help these professionals secure employment at US government agencies.”The charges in this case should be a wakeup call for American companies and government agencies that employ remote IT workers,” said Nicole Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.”These crimes benefitted the North Korean government, giving it a revenue stream and, in some instances, proprietary information stolen by the co-conspirators.”Chapman has been arrested with North Korean citizens Jiho Han, Chunji Jin, Haoran Xu. All the three North Koreans are connected to the North Korean Munitions Industry Department, said the US State Department. The organisation is involved with ballistic missile and weapons manufacturing for North Korea.Chapman was arrested on May 16 in Arizona. Published By: India Today Web Desk Published On: May 17, 2024

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