Where is Ed Shin now? NBC's 'Dateline' to explore case of gambling addict who killed his business partner
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: ‘Dateline' is back with another thrilling and chilling murder case. This time the hit show will shed light on the case of Edward Younghoon Shin aka Ed Shin, a Korean businessman who was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his business partner, Chris Smith. NBC's investigative show will deep-dive into Shin’s story.
A businessman from California, Shin was accused of killing his business partner in a violent attack and posing as the man for months while sending emails to his family. Pretending to be Smith, he stayed in contact with the victim's parents and friends for six months through emails writing about his supposed world trip. The episode consists of an interview with Shin from inside prison.
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Who is Ed Shin?
Shin is the only child of wealthy Korean American immigrants living in Southern California. He had big dreams of his own, but he led a double life. For him, it was all about money. On one hand, he was a successful church-going businessman, married with three children at home. On the other, he was addicted to gambling as he spent his weekends in Las Vegas, spending money blindly on women and casinos. He was also secretly siphoning cash from the advertising business he and Smith founded together. His former roommate disclosed that Shin wanted to be a millionaire by the time he was 30 and was already driving a fancy Mercedes sports car by 23. Shin has a history of convictions including embezzlement, a kidnapping hoax and shady business dealings.
Ed Shin tried to extort his father
Shin allegedly sent his father an email posing as a kidnapper claiming his son had been kidnapped and demanded $1M as ransom. For two days, Shin was nowhere to be found. It was only later that cops found the said email was sent from his home. Although he was never connected with the crime, authorities believed that Shin was trying to extort his father.
In May 2010, Shin had been sued for not paying the owner of a magazine, whose business he had taken took over. Shin threatened them to drop the case or else he would make them “disappear." He reportedly embezzled more than $1M from his company. He was convicted of embezzlement in Riverside County. However, he wasn’t sent to jail. The judge ordered him to pay $700,000 in restitution and placed him on probation.
Where is Ed Shin now?
When Shin was ordered to pay $700,000 in restitution, he did not have that kind of money since he spent millions on gambling. He thought of using money from The 800 Exchange, the business he co-owned with Smith. However, he needed Smith’s signature to be able to take out that kind of money from the company. The financial pressure on Shin is deemed to be the motive behind Smith’s killing as he wanted to make him disappear and take all of his money.
In 2011, the investigation into Smith's disappearance pointed towards Shin, who was then arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport. By that time, he was already under probation for embezzlement. During his interrogation, he changed his story multiple times, resulting in false claims by the authorities. He stuck to his story that Smith hit his head on a desk which lead to his death at his murder trial. After years of interrogation, he was convicted in December 2018 of first-degree murder with special circumstances and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He concluded that he did not know where Smith’s remains were, but there was more to the story which he could not talk about.
Watch NBC's 'Dateline’ on Friday, May 27 at 9 pm ET.