Epoch Times CFO Bill Guan Is Charged In Alleged $67 Million Global Money Laundering Scheme

Federal prosecutors announced that Epoch Times CFO Bill Guan has been charged with orchestrating a $67 million global money laundering scheme, involving prepaid debit cards, bitcoin, and stolen personal information.

Epoch Times CFO Bill Guan Is Charged In Alleged $67 Million Global Money Laundering Scheme 1

Federal prosecutors announced on Monday that the chief financial officer of the conservative international news organization The Epoch Times had been detained and accused of spearheading a multi-year plot to launder at least $67 million in criminal funds.

Prosecutors claimed that the plan, which involved tens of thousands of prepaid debit cards, bitcoin, fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance payments, and stolen personal information, was the reason behind a sharp rise in The Epoch Times’ stated yearly earnings.

In U.S. District Court in Lower Manhattan, Weidong “Bill” Guan, 61, is accused of two counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiring to commit money laundering.

According to a court notice, Guan was taken into custody on Sunday morning and entered a not-guilty plea before a federal magistrate judge in Manhattan on Monday afternoon. In addition to other limitations, he can only travel to certain areas of New York and New Jersey after being freed on a $3 million personal recognizance bond.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated in a statement that Guan “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.”

“When banks raised questions about the funds, Guan allegedly lied repeatedly and falsely claimed that the funds came from legitimate donations to the media company,” Williams said.

In a statement, The Epoch Times reported that Guan had been placed on temporary suspension.

“The company intends to and will fully cooperate with any investigation dealing with the allegations against Mr. Guan,” a spokesperson for the outlet.

“In the interim, although Mr. Guan is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the company has suspended him until this matter is resolved.”

According to his indictment, Secaucus, New Jersey resident Guan oversaw the Epoch Times’ “Make Money Online team,” which executed the plan to purchase “crime proceeds” and deposit them into bank accounts connected to the publication.

The group is accused of using a cryptocurrency platform to purchase cryptocurrencies for tens of millions of dollars in criminal proceeds between 2020 and 2024 at a discount of 70 to 80 cents per dollar. Prosecutors claimed that the proceeds of the crime, which included “fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits,” were loaded onto tens of thousands of prepaid debit cards.

Participants allegedly opened a variety of accounts using stolen personally identifying information after purchasing the proceeds of the crime, then transferred the money into bank accounts associated with the media outlet and affiliated businesses.

Prosecutors claim that they were frequently laundered again through different accounts, such as Guan’s own cryptocurrency and bank accounts.

Guan and his accomplices reportedly misrepresented their origins to banks and other organizations to conceal the illicit nature of the income.

The Epoch Times’ ties to the Chinese religious organization Falun Gong, which has backed former President Donald Trump as an ally in its fight against the nation’s ruling Chinese Communist Party, have been covered by NBC News and other media sites.

The indictment makes no specific mention of The Epoch Times. However, Guan’s title as chief financial officer of Epoch Times appears on the nonprofit media company’s most recent tax return, which was submitted in late 2023.

The money laundering plan allegedly benefited “a multinational media company headquartered in Manhattan, New York,” according to the prosecution. The Epoch Times’s main office is located in Manhattan on West 28th Street.

According to the prosecution, between 2019 and 2020, the company’s revenue increased from “approximately $15 million to approximately $62 million” as a result of the scam carried out by Guan and his accomplices.

The IRS nonprofit tax forms made accessible to the public by The Epoch Times show that the organization brought in $15.5 million in program revenue in 2019. The Epoch Times revealed tax-exempt revenue of $62.7 million in the subsequent year.

An official from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office refrained from offering any further remarks regarding the indictment against Guan, which was submitted towards the end of May and released on Monday.

The maximum sentence for each of the bank fraud crimes is thirty years in jail; the maximum term for the conspiracy is twenty years. Guan’s accusations “do not relate to the Media Company’s newsgathering activities,” according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

Last year, GreatGameIndia reported that the DOJ announced that Binance had pleaded guilty to money laundering and faced over $4 billion in fines, and Mr. Zhao consented to resign as CEO of Binance.

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