Internet scam lands Jupiter man's father in South Korean jail

'He could be facing years in prison'

JUPITER, Fla. -
At first, it all sounded like the plot of a movie to Kent Malinowski from Jupiter. 
 
"My brother called me and said: 'dad has been arrested. He's in South Korea in jail,' " Kent said on Wednesday. 
 
Shortly after the U.S. embassy called to confirm that his father, 79-year-old Julius Malinowski had been arrested on fraud charges on Nov. 10, and was awaiting trial in a South-Korean prison.
 
"I never thought in a million years something like this would happen," Kent said. 
 
He didn't know what exactly his father was arrested for and wasn't able to communicate with him directly, so Kent started to investigate on his own what had happened.
 
"We were able to create a timeline and track him through his credit cards receipts," Kent said. 
 
On his computer they found an email exchange with someone claiming to work for BB&T, a bank in North Carolina. 
 
Julius Malinowski, a retired vice president for the Federal Reserve, was interested in working again in the banking industry on a part time basis and travel the world.
 
"They did a job interview," said Kent. "They came and met with him. They played golf with him." 
 
It was an elaborate scheme. They even sent him a fake employment contract and fake business cards. Then they sent him on an international business trip to Australia to deliver a contract. 
 
His family wasn't aware of the trip to Australia at the time. 
 
The trip was a success and his next assignment was South Korea. 
 
That's where he was arrested while meeting with an alleged client. 
 
The only way Kent can communicate with his father is through handwritten notes. His lawyer takes a picture of it and emails them to Kent. 
 
According to one of those notes, Julius Malinowski said he followed the assignment instructions exactly. 
 
"We think that they knew that about dad," said Kent. "They targeted him and they used that to their advantage to convince him that this was a legitimate deal."  
 
Kent Malinowski contacted the FBI. 
 
"Every investigator I have spoken to is surprised as to what happened," Kent Malinowski said. "They all say the same thing: 'It's the wildest thing we've ever heard of."
 
Julius Malinowski is on the board of several charities and community groups. Kent Malinowski said if you know his father, you're not surprised who he called for his only call from jail.
 
"He called his neighbor and said: 'Larry, I won't be able to make the Lion's Club meeting this month, can you fill in for me?' " Kent Malinowski said. 
 
Kent Malinowski said his father is doing well considering the circumstances, but he suffers from kidney issues and has been transported to the hospital two days ago. 
 
There is no bail posted for his father and there is still no trial date set. 
 
It's the family's first Christmas without Julius Malinowski at the table. 
 
"Here is dad's plate setting," said Kent, pointing at the table which shows a picture of his dad next to a plate. "We're going to leave it empty until he comes home for Christmas." 
 
Kent hopes that they will be able to convince the judge in South Korea that his father was a victim of a scam and that he will have his father home again soon. 
 
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