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TV writer sentenced to nine years for defrauding Shinhwa's Lee Min Woo

A TV writer accused of defrauding Shinhwa member Lee Min-woo out of approximately 2.6 billion KRW (about $2 million) has received a heavy sentence in the second trial.

According to Newsis on the 9th, the Seoul High Court’s Criminal Division 3 (Chief Judge Lee Chang-hyung) upheld the nine-year prison sentence for TV writer A, charged with violating the Act on the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Economic Crimes (fraud) among other charges. The court also maintained the first trial’s order to confiscate the 2.6 billion KRW and return the same amount to Lee Min-woo.

The court stated, “At the time of the incident, the defendant psychologically dominated the victim, who felt intimidated. The victim testified that the defendant was the only person who could help him, indicating emotional dependency on the defendant.”

The court continued, “The nature of the crime is very serious, and the defendant denies all charges with implausible excuses. There is no remorse, as evidenced by mentioning unrelated issues like the victim’s partner and failing to provide restitution, making the defendant highly culpable.”

The court also noted, “The victim has lost his lifetime savings and suffers severe economic and emotional distress, pleading for harsh punishment for the defendant. However, considering the defendant’s lack of prior convictions, the original sentence is neither too lenient nor too harsh.”

TV writer A approached Lee Min-woo in 2019, promising to help him avoid charges of sexual misconduct in exchange for money. A was accused of defrauding Lee Min-woo out of approximately 2.6 billion KRW and 218 luxury items.

At the time, Lee Min-woo faced allegations of molesting two women at a bar in Gangnam, Seoul. A, who had a prior acquaintance with Lee Min-woo, claimed to have connections within the prosecution to secure a no-charge decision, leading Lee Min-woo to hand over the money and goods. Lee Min-woo was later cleared of the molestation charges due to insufficient evidence.

Following this, Lee Min-woo sued A, leading to charges of fraud and violations of the Attorney-at-Law Act. During the trial, Lee Min-woo’s side argued that he had been gaslighted or mentally abused by A. In contrast, A claimed that they merely borrowed money from Lee Min-woo and did not defraud him.