Media Company CFO Faces Money Laundering Charges

Prosecutors say Epoch Times exec was part of 'sprawling transnational scheme'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 4, 2024 5:34 PM CDT
Epoch Times Exec Accused of Money Laundering Scheme
Issues of the Epoch Times in sidewalk newspaper boxes in New York City's Chinatown neighborhood.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The chief financial officer of the Epoch Times, a conservative multinational media company, is accused of taking part in a multi-year scheme to launder tens of millions of dollars in fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits and other funds, according to an indictment unsealed Monday. Weidong "Bill" Guan, 61, of Secaucus, New Jersey, was arrested on Sunday. He appeared Monday before a federal judge in New York on charges of conspiring to commit money laundering and bank fraud, the AP reports. He pleaded not guilty.

  • Guan is accused of participating in a "sprawling transnational scheme" with others to launder at least $67 million to the New York-based media company's bank accounts and related entities.

  • Federal prosecutors said members of the company's "Make Money Online" team, which was managed by Guan, used cryptocurrency to "knowingly purchase tens of millions of dollars in crime proceeds," including funds from fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits that were loaded onto prepaid debit cards, according to federal prosecutors.
  • Stolen personal information was then used to open accounts as part of the alleged laundering scheme, prosecutors said. The money was further laundered through other bank accounts held by Epoch and Guan's personal bank and cryptocurrency accounts.

  • The Epoch Times was not named in the indictment released Monday, but instead was referred to as a "multinational media company." In a statement, the news organization, which is linked to China's Falun Gong spiritual movement, said it would cooperate with the federal probe. "Although Mr. Guan is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the company has suspended him until this matter is resolved," the company said.
  • Prosecutors said the charges are not related to the media company's newsgathering activities.
  • Federal prosecutors said the media company's revenues jumped approximately 410% when the alleged money laundering began, from approximately $15 million to $62 million. Guan, they said, lied to banks when they asked about the increase in transactions and said there was an increase in legitimate donations.
(More money laundering stories.)

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