Mikata owners identified as victims of ponzi-like scheme - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Mikata owners identified as victims of ponzi-like scheme

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Millions of dollars of their hard earned money, allegedly taken by two people they trusted.

The relationship between Michael and Phyllis Bleckley and the Kim family, owners of Mikata Japanese Steak House on Airport Thruway, started back in 2001.

That's when seven members of the Kim family started investing money with the Bleckleys' and their company, MKB Capital Management Inc.

"They approached us, I can say that, they approached us," said Sun Kim, one of the victims of the Bleckleys' ponzi-like scheme.

According to the indictment, the Kims' were told their money was going into German bonds and securities.

It was in late 2007 that they realized something just wasn't right.

"The red flag was a date of maturity that never came. You don't invest forever, and there came a time to 'put up,' and it never materialized," said Alonza Whitaker, the Chief Assistant District Attorney for the Chattahoochee Circuit.

After a nearly two-year investigation by the Columbus Police Department's Financial Crimes unit, enough evidence was gathered for an indictment.

No one knows if there are any more victims, but police hope the Kims' story will push others to come forward if they have been wronged.

Lt. Bill Rawn with the Columbus Police Department says this type of crime happens often, but the victims stay silent.

"It's probably still ongoing, but a lot of times, we've got victims that are too embarrassed to admit they fell for it, that they put their trust in somebody they shouldn't have. They won't come forward, so we don't know about it," said Lt. Rawn.

After the search of the suspects' home and businesses, police still don't know where that $2.6 million is.

All they know that is was not invested on behalf of the Kims'.

The district attorney's office is in the process of freezing the Bleckleys' assets, and if they are found guilty, whatever money can be recovered will be returned to the Kims'.

If you feel you are a victim of the Bleckleys', you are asked to come forward.

Just call the district attorney's office at 706-653-4336.

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