US Media Executive Charged in $67 Million Fiat-to-Crypto Money Laundering Scheme

The U.S. DOJ has charged the CFO of a media company with one count of money laundering and two counts of bank fraud for participating in a scheme that laundered criminal proceeds using cryptocurrency. Authorities allege that Weidong Guan and his accomplices used bank accounts opened with stolen personal identification information to transfer the funds to the media company’s accounts.

Guan and Accomplices Purchased ‘Crime Proceeds’ at Discounted Rates

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on June 3 that it had charged Weidong Guan, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the multinational media company Epoch Times, with participating in a scheme that laundered $67 million in illegally obtained funds using cryptocurrency. According to the DOJ, Guan and his accomplices in the transnational scheme knowingly purchased proceeds of crime at discounted rates of 70% to 80% for personal gain.

Upon receiving the funds, the Epoch Times CFO and other participants used stolen personal identification information to open accounts, including prepaid debit card accounts and cryptocurrency accounts. These accounts were then used to transfer the funds to bank accounts associated with Epoch Times and its affiliates. The funds would be further laundered through bank accounts held by the media company, as well as Guan’s personal bank and cryptocurrency accounts.

Commenting on U.S. law enforcement’s arrest and charging of the CFO, the U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:

“As alleged, Bill Guan, the Chief Financial Officer of a global newspaper and media company, conspired with others to benefit himself, the media company, and its affiliates by laundering tens of millions of dollars in fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits and other crime proceeds.”

Due to the elaborate money laundering scheme, The Epoch Times’ internal financial accounting revealed a staggering 410% increase in annual revenue compared to the previous year—from approximately $15 million to approximately $62 million. According to Williams, when banks raised questions about this sudden surge, Guan asserted that the funds originated from legitimate donations to the media company.

For his role in perpetuating the money laundering scheme, Guan faces one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Additionally, the CFO is charged with two counts of bank fraud, each carrying a maximum sentence of 30 years.

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Source: Bitcoin

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