Media Company CFO Indicted for Alleged $67M Money Laundering Scheme

News | June 12, 2024 By:

On Monday, June 3, 2024, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York announced the unsealing of an indictment charging Weidong Guan, the Chief Financial Officer of a major media company, with money laundering and bank fraud. While the Epoch Times is not explicitly named in the indictment, public disclosures filed with the state of New York list Guan as the CFO of The Epoch Times Association Inc.

The indictment alleges that Guan, who goes by “Bill Guan,” conspired with others to launder approximately $67 million in illegally obtained funds through the company’s accounts. According to the charges, Guan managed a team called the “Make Money Online” team located in a foreign office of the media company. Members of this team allegedly used cryptocurrency to purchase tens of millions of dollars of criminal proceeds, including fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits that were loaded onto prepaid debit cards.

Prosecutors claim the criminal proceeds were bought at discounted rates of 70–80 cents on the dollar in exchange for cryptocurrency. Guan and others are then accused of using stolen identities to open bank, prepaid debit, and cryptocurrency accounts to transfer illegal funds. The money would subsequently move through accounts belonging to the media companies, Guan’s personal accounts, and his cryptocurrency accounts.

The indictment further states that internal documents from the media company showed revenue jumped remarkably from $15 million to $62 million in the year the alleged scheme commenced. When banks questioned Guan about the large increases in transactions, he allegedly lied and claimed the funds came from donations. However, Guan wrote in a 2022 letter to Congress that donations made up an “insignificant” part of company revenues.

If convicted, 61-year-old Guan, a resident of Secaucus, New Jersey, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for money laundering conspiracy and up to 30 years for each count of bank fraud.