SEOUL, July 6 (Korea Bizwire) – Prosecutors on Wednesday said some hundreds of people, including scores of brokers and lawyers, have been indicted on charges of providing unlawful legal service to people applying for personal bailout programs.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said it arrested 225 suspects — including 181 brokers and 41 lawyers and judicial scriveners — on charges of violating the Attorney-at-Law Act, wrapping up its yearlong investigation. All, except three who have been put under a stay of prosecution, have been indicted.
Prosecutors said 168 brokers are suspected of providing legal services to people applying for the individual rehabilitation program without having proper expertise or certificates. They received some 56 billion won (US$48 million) for handling 35,848 cases in total. Prosecutors said such practices jeopardize the well-being of ordinary citizens.
The other 13 brokers are suspected of dealing with bidding cases.
The lawyers took part in the act by lending their names in exchange for money.
Among the arrested were two advertisers who allegedly gathered clients and introduced them to brokers, and a moneylender who is said to have aided and abetted by granting loans to clients for legal fees.
The government-assisted personal bailouts, referred to as the individual rehabilitation program, are designed to give people on the verge of insolvency a second chance by rearranging credit obligations and legal duties to write off their debts.
The number of people applying for the program increased drastically from 46,972 in 2010 to 110,707 in 2014, according to government data.
Prosecutors said they will continue their crackdown on those unlawfully handling the personal bailout program.