[UPDATED with Chilling New Details:] Edward Younghoon Shin Accused of Murdering Christopher Ryan Smith

Categories: 2010 Homicides
christopher-ryan-smith_biggest.jpg
Christopher Ryan Smith
UPDATE, AUG. 31, 5:14 P.M.: A Weekly examination of court records in Riverside County related to a lawsuit brought by a competitor in the sales lead generation business exposes more about how Edward Younghoon Shin met the future business partner he is now accused of killing, Christopher Ryan Smith.

Meanwhile, an expert who followed that case closely discovered chilling emails Smith supposedly sent after being murdered.

And the 33-year-old's hometown newspaper has provided more biographical details about the Laguna Beach resident whose body has yet to be found.

A few years ago, Smith was working at LeadPoint Inc., a Delaware corporation whose principal place of business was Los Angeles. LeadPoint generated sales leads, as did Lead Generation Technologies (or LG Technologies) of Encino, which sued Shin, Smith and others, according to Riverside County court documents dated Feb. 22, 2010.

Shin was named vice president of business development at LG on Feb. 19, 2008. On July 3, 2008, he secretly formed a competing lead-generation business, LPS, whose first address was Shin's home in Temecula before he moved to San Clemente, where his new home was the second address for LPS. He never informed his LG overlords that he had formed LPS.

On Sept. 1, 2008, Shin was named LG's president. Seven days later, LG, through Shin, hired Smith as a full-time, independent contractor consultant, according to the suit. The same day, Smith was terminated at LeadPoint.

The complaint alleged Shin illegally funneled $1 million from LG to LPS, and that he and his co-horts did the same with LG sales leads. Smith was accused in the complaint of having secretly worked for competitor LPS at the same time he was consulting for LG, "drawing business opportunities away from LG."

Smith's contract with LG ended on Dec. 31, 2008. Shin was out of there on March 13, 2009. On April 3, 2009, the same day LG went after LPS and Shin and his wife's joint bank accounts, 800xchange was formed. It initially shared the same address as Shin's home.

Shin and Smith identified themselves as the managing partners and co-founders of 800xchange, yet another lead generation business. It was operating out of an office in San Juan Capistrano where Orange County Sheriff's homicide investigators allege Shin killed Smith before disposing of the body.

The lawsuit was later settled after Shin pleaded guilty, charges against Smith and others were dismissed and all that was publicized about the terms of the agreement was that Shin had to pay restitution and serve three years probation to avoid jail time.

Edward-Younghoon-Shin_ocda.jpg
Courtesy of Orange County District Attorney's Office
Edward Younghoon Shin's latest booking photo.
The amount $1 million pops up frequently in the complaint. That's also how much Shin owed Smith to buy him out of the 800xchange partnership--before allegedly killing him.

Now comes the creepy part: Orange County Sheriff's homicide investigators and the district attorney's office claim Shin murdered Smith on June 4, 2010. But Michael Ferree, who has been following "the largest lead generation scandal in history" (that just got larger) writes on his LeadCritic blog that Smith (or someone posing as Smith) emailed him on Aug. 9 and 12 of that same year. The emails, which Ferree shares in full with his post, are pleas to update his readers about the charges in the LG complaint being dismissed.

"These and other emails were sent 2 months after Smith had been reported missing," LedCritic notes.  

Smith, a Watsonville native, was an avid surfer who once had a professional wakeboarding career years before co-founding 800xchange. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that Smith learned to surf, waterski and wakeboard growing up in Santa Cruz County:

He became a professional wakeboarder in the mid-1990s, but after injuring his knee and blowing out his Achilles tendon, Smith went into developing Internet businesses, according to family members.

"He was a really close friend of mine since childhood," said Grady Jackson of Smith. "Chris was kind of a pioneer of wakeboarding; he was pretty acrobatic and athletic about it."

It was Steve Smith, Christopher's father now living in Bend, Ore., who initially contacted the Laguna Beach Police Department about his son being missing. The Sentinel carried a statement from the Smith family describing him as "passionate and brilliant":

"Thinking outside the box was almost automatic for him when looking at any idea, concept, or something considered fact," the statement said. "Chris had a longing for peace and for something this world could not offer."

Smith's father said the family won't release further details during the investigation.

kenny-roy-kraft_ocsd.jpg
Kenny Roy Kraft
UPDATE, AUG. 30, 12:30 P.M.: A second suspect has been arrested in the murder of 33-year-old Christopher Ryan Smith of Laguna Beach, the Orange County Sheriff's Department announced this morning.

The same sheriff's statement on Kenny Roy Craft, 34, of Laguna Niguel, confessing and being charged as an accessory to Smith's murder claims that Edward Younghoon Shin also admitted to carrying out the killing of his former partner at 800xchange, a sales lead generation firm in San Juan Capistrano.

Kraft is now being held at Orange County Jail in lieu of $250,000.00 bail.

He was scheduled to be arraigned today in Santa Ana.

"Kraft admitted to assisting Shin in the disposal of personal belongings of victim Smith," reads the statement. "These items included clothing and a 2009 white Range Rover recovered by OCSD Homicide Investigators in San Jose."

Chris-Smith-Ranger_ocsd.jpg
Courtesy of the Orange County Sheriff's Department
Chris Smith's Range Rover found in San Jose.

Homicide investigators are also reaching out to the public for information on Kraft, Shin or the late Smith's property.

Call OCSD Homicide at 714.647.7048 or leave a message on the sheriff's 24-hour hotline at 714.628.7170.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
32 comments
Frank
Frank

Not to mention lead point doesn't generate leads. They harvest from mailers and publishers.  Sounds like you didnt do any research what so ever. 

Jencie Fajardo
Jencie Fajardo

That's correct!, in On-line sales it is important to design ONE webpage for 1 item and that is very correct in starting a lead generation online business.

 

Tat
Tat

Matt coker- Extremely poor taste, Chris was a friend of mine and doesn't deserve your disrespect...have you any common sense?

TheSadTruth
TheSadTruth

Mr. Coker.  Kudos to you for both your retractions and corrections.  Moreover, as one who knows a great deal about these topics, your additions and research are the most factual and in-depth to date.  No one wants to disrespect a dead man much less one that was murdered and my heart goes out to his family and friends.  It is a tragedy that greed got the better of both Shin and Smith and ultimately led to this outcome.  Both of them were smart and capable but one can only get so far in life without honor and integrity.  

Joanne Walsh
Joanne Walsh

that is why I only believe 5% of what I read. It;s sad because the general public has zero critical thinking skills and believe everything they read.

Concerned Friend
Concerned Friend

The situation is absolutely aweful. Our hearts go out to the families involved. Have some integrity and keep the kids out of it, as well as your inappropriate attempt at humor.

Zak
Zak

That Cheno looks Pycodic, how do you even trust someone that has a face like that,He'll get his face smashed in further in prison.

Guest
Guest

Frigg'in Rich People & their GREED!

Guest
Guest

Shin has burned alot of people in the past and this was not the first time hes stole from a company he worked with or a business partner who trusted him... With people like him you just need to give him more rope, its just sad that this had to happen for him to get put away.

E08
E08

I know them both well. I won't say how, but I know them well. Shin is a liar, always has been and always will be. It wouldn't surprise me if he's trying to put some of the blame on Kenny. 

mitch young
mitch young

It's been a tough week for the model effing minority here at OCWeekly. 

Dsgsg
Dsgsg

┈━═☆┈━═☆┈━═☆

╭⌒╮⌒╮.’,”’,,’,.”,,’,”,.

╱◥██◣”o’,”’,,’,.”.”,,’,.

|田|田田│ ”,,’,.’,”’,,’,.”

╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬╬

 

i lovethis game,i hope we can supply for our

shoping.....

 http://bit.ly/n6SVQy

 

Kuhsdfkhkjsd
Kuhsdfkhkjsd

Kenny is a great guy and NEVER would have knowingly disposed of murder evidence. It's so tragic that shady, horrible, pathetic excuses for human beings can try to take innocent people down with them. Kenny will be cleared of this! Thoughts and prayers to the victims family. And to Shin.....burn in hell!

Aptos4life
Aptos4life

Cooker, you are an ass! Chris was a great friend and for u to try and make a joke out of the situation is completely rude and unprofessional! Find a new job asshole!

Npdkr27
Npdkr27

This article has it all wrong. Ed Shin did not get Chris hired at Leadpoint. Chris worked at Leadpoint before he even knew Ed Shin. Also, there is no Iris Sunwoo at Leadpoint. Get it straight.

Freeswifty
Freeswifty

The second suspect was duped by Shin as well. He was the personal assistant who met and went to work for Shin shortly after the victim went missing. While the press does quote him as saying he disposed of personal articles and the vehicle of the victim, they also take out of context that he was performing an act by his employer by merely disposing of some old articles of clothes handed to him and dropping off a company vehicle somewhere without ever knowing the true circumstances or origin of the items.

Beercanbeach
Beercanbeach

"And you thought the taxi cab business was cutthroat!" way to make a funny on something not so funny as murder.  Matt Coker - Chris was one of my best friends.  I hope you improve because this article was very hurtful.

julie1310
julie1310

The comment about" you thought taxi cab business is cut throat" is so unprofessional and disrespectful to the family.Condolences to the family.

scott
scott

Chris was an amazing person that loved to share.  I am deeply sadden by this.  I look forward to the closure and wish his family the best.  Cant wait for Shinn to get what he deserves!

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

The Laguna bit comes from the sheriff's department, the LeadPoint part from Riverside court records. That doesn't necessarily make them true, but I'll go with them over an anonymous crank, correcting once I'm shown otherwise.

SomeoneWhoKnows
SomeoneWhoKnows

Some of the "facts" in this article are total BS, making other parts of it suspect. For example, Smith's family does not live in Laguna Beach, much less California.  Even more important, Smith worked at LeadPoint (long before he ever met Shin) having been hired by the founders of that company.  Shin became a client of LeadPoint's at a much later date.  I suggest you do more research and retract the errors.

Yoyoyo
Yoyoyo

That's what your face would look like too after a whole day of interrogation and you just confessed to murder. Also, learn how to not use derogatory terms if you can't even spell them correctly. But he is still a total ass, con man, and murderer. Kenny is innocent

Former Friend
Former Friend

"Guest", are you referring to the venture capital firm that Shin started in Mission Viejo, CA with his good church friend in 2002, Atlantis Capital Group?  Either way, if you have any info that can attest to Shin's character, it might be helpful to the detectives at Orange County Sheriff's Dept.  If anyone has info that can help locate Chris Smith and bring his family some closure, please come forward!

Dmperrico
Dmperrico

You should actually reread the article because neither of your arguments are stated within the story. It says Smith's parents called LB police to report him missing not that they lived there. And it also says Smith worked at LP long before Shin....So your name should really be SomeoneWhoDoesntKnow

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

Ah, I just double-checked and SomeoneWhoKnows is correct that I confused LeadPoint with LPS at one point in the original post. I'm going to correct that and go into the case and Smith's bio deeper in an update. Stay tuned.

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...