A woman accused of filing false domestic abuse charges against men as a ploy to burglarize their homes was arrested by Mountain View police on Thursday.
The suspect, Sunmee Kim, 44, first came to the attention of local police in January when she filed charges claiming her fiance had attacked her at their Mountain View home. She had no visible injuries, and she refused to give police her full name or any contact information, police said.
The man identified as her fiance denied that they were in a romantic relationship. They were actually housemates, he said. Police declined to identify him.
The man was arrested and reportedly detained for less than a day, then released without any criminal charges. While he was in custody, Kim allegedly raided his house, stealing various items. Police officials say they are not releasing specifics on the stolen items at this time.
Following the man's arrest, police began to suspect that Kim had lied to them, and a fraud detective was assigned to investigate her. According to Mountain View police, they soon discovered that she had pulled similar schemes against other men across the state.
In 2009, for example, she allegedly faked her own kidnapping in Los Angeles in an attempt to con a man she was staying with into paying ransom money.
A few years later, Kim reportedly pulled a similar domestic-abuse scheme against a businessman she was living with in Irvine, claiming he had hit her repeatedly and stole her possessions. He was arrested and later had a restraining order barring him from returning to his home. During this time, Kim reportedly burglarized his home, stealing cash and other belongings.
In that Irvine case, her victim later ended up suing the police department for $150,000 for failing to take reasonable steps to verify her claims, according to the Orange County Register.
Mountain View Police investigators found that Kim had active warrants out of Los Angeles and Orange counties. Police officers arrested her in Palo Alto on the outstanding warrant charges, and are currently working with Santa Clara County prosecutors to determine what criminal charges to file against her.
Detectives are currently building a case against her, and they believe there may be other victims who haven't come forward, said Mountain View police spokeswoman Katie Nelson.
"She was sentenced in Orange County for almost the exact same crime and then she disappeared for about five years," Nelson said. "This isn't something that happened out of happenstance. We're thinking her (modus operandi) is pretty prolific."
Many of Kim's victims located so far came into contact with her through the dating site KoreanCupid.com. She reportedly went by several different names, including Sunny Jean Kim, Jean Kim, Jiin and Ashley Kim
Anyone with information pertinent to the investigation is encouraged to contact Detective Frank Rivas at firstname.lastname@example.org.