June 6, 2024

New York media company executive charged for alleged role in transnational money laundering scheme

On June 3, 2024, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the unsealing of an indictment charging Weidong Guan (a/k/a Bill Guan), Chief Financial Officer of a New York-based multinational media company, for his role in a transnational money laundering scheme.  According to multiple media outlets, Guan is the CFO of The Epoch Times.  Guan was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering for participating in a scheme to launder approximately $67 million in illegally obtained funds into bank accounts associated with the un-named media company and related entities (“Media Entities”).  Guan, who was arrested on June 3, 2024, pleaded not guilty to the charges.  In its press release, the USAO emphasized that the charges do not relate to the media company’s newsgathering activities.

According to the indictment, from approximately 2020 to May 2024, Guan conspired with others to launder nearly $67 million in criminal proceeds, including funds linked to alleged fraud involving the U.S. Department of Labor’s unemployment insurance program.  In furtherance of the money laundering conspiracy, Guan allegedly managed several teams, including the media company’s “Make Money Online” team (“MMO Team”), that were instructed to launder the funds by purchasing tens of millions of dollars in criminal proceeds at a discounted rate using a particular cryptocurrency platform in exchange for cryptocurrency.  Scheme participants allegedly used stolen personal identification information to open bank accounts, cryptocurrency accounts, and prepaid debit card accounts to store the illicit funds until they were transferred into accounts associated with the Media Entities.  According to federal prosecutors, criminal proceeds were often further laundered through Guan’s personal bank accounts and personal cryptocurrency accounts as well as other bank accounts associated with the Media Entities.  When certain U.S. banks inquired about the increased activity in accounts associated with the Media Entities, Guan reportedly lied to bank representatives, claiming that the transactions were related to “online donations” received by the Media Entities.

USAO SDNY Press Release | Unsealed Indictment| Docket Minute Entry