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Washington AG sues New York man, says he set up bogus charities here

In this June 21, 2018 photo, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, left, speaks as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, center, and Solicitor General Noah Purcell look on at a news conference in SeaTac, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
In this June 21, 2018 photo, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, left, speaks as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, center, and Solicitor General Noah Purcell look on at a news conference in SeaTac, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

A former New York stockbroker with ties to organized crime allegedly set up six bogus nonprofit organizations with legitimate-sounding names and a Seattle address, possibly to cover up illegal activity, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Ian Richard Hosang, 60, of Brooklyn, N.Y., filed articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State for the American Cancer Society of Washington in November 2016, the lawsuit says. The AG alleges the fake nonprofit’s office address was for the UPS Store on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, and any mail delivered was to be forwarded to Hosang’s post-office box in Brooklyn, according to the suit.

The suit further alleges that Hosang filed articles of incorporation for the American Cancer Society of Seattle, the American Red Cross of Seattle, the American Red Cross of Washington, the United Way of Seattle and the United Way of Washington over two days in February. The UPS Store’s address was again used as the office address for each of the nonprofits, and Ferguson’s lawsuit claims none are associated with legitimate charitable organizations that have chapters here.

A phone number listed in Hosang’s name went unanswered Tuesday. It is unknown whether he has an attorney.

A news release from Ferguson’s office says investigators appear to have uncovered the purported sham nonprofits before anyone in Washington made donations, but encouraged anyone who may have given money to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. The phone number for the office’s call center is 1-800-551-4636.

The Attorney General’s Office, which filed its suit in King County Superior Court, is seeking involuntary dissolution of the nonprofits, a permanent injunction against him and any of his associates from engaging in unlawful conduct, and a finding that Hosang procured the articles of incorporation through fraud.

Hosang has not been charged criminally in Washington.

According to the lawsuit:

“The Defendants serve no legitimate charitable or commercial purpose. On information and belief, they do not actively solicit charitable contribution, distribute charity, or provide any educational services. They are not registered as charitable organizations with the Secretary of State. The Defendants have no office location, no web presence, and no phone number. None of the board members even reside in Washington State.”

It is believed the sole purpose of the fake nonprofits “is to obscure financial transactions in a manner that would likely be prohibited by law,” the lawsuit says.

Hosang is also accused of incorporating fake charities in Michigan, California, Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia, New York, Florida and Maryland, all using variations on the names United Way, American Red Cross and American Cancer Society, according to the suit.

In 1997, Hosang was one of 13 people federally indicted in connection with an elaborate stock fraud linked to the Gambino crime family, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. Hosang reportedly pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges in 1999 in a stock-manipulation scheme in which prosecutors alleged he and his associates beat a rival and hung him by his feet out a window on the ninth floor of a Manhattan office.

News reports said Hosang was a purported ringleader, along with an associate with ties to the Gambino crime family; he also involved his mother and nephew in laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars from stock sales and rewarded his most productive brokers with marijuana, The Journal reported.

The National Association of Securities Dealers permanently banned Hosang from stock brokering, and he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, according to other media accounts. Because those charges were filed more than 20 years ago, online court records are unavailable and it is unknown what sentence Hosang faced.

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