Crypto Money Laundering Scandal: Epoch Times CFO Bill Guan Indicted by US DOJ

In a significant development, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted Bill Guan, the Chief Financial Officer of Epoch Times, a global newspaper and media company, on allegations of participating in a scheme to launder approximately $67 million using crypto. 

The indictment accuses Guan of being involved in a “transnational money laundering conspiracy,” benefiting himself, the media company, and its affiliates.

Multi-Million Crypto Money Laundering Scheme

According to US Attorney Damian Williams, Guan allegedly conspired with others to launder “tens of millions of dollars” obtained through “fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits” and other illicit activities. 

The indictment further alleges that Guan, as the CFO of Epoch Times, played a central role in the sprawling money laundering scheme from 2020 until May 2024. 

Under his management, the company’s “Make Money Online” team (MMO Team) utilized crypto to purchase tens of millions of dollars in crime proceeds, including fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits loaded onto prepaid debit cards.

Participants in the scheme, including the MMO Team and others, purchased the proceeds of the crime at discounted rates using a specific but undisclosed digital asset platform

Stolen personal identification information was then used to open accounts, including prepaid debit card accounts, cryptocurrency accounts, and bank accounts, to transfer the illicit funds to the Media Entities associated with Epoch Times. 

The crime proceeds were subsequently laundered through various bank accounts held by the Media Entities, Guan’s personal bank accounts, and his cryptocurrency accounts.

Decades In Prison?

During the period coinciding with the money laundering activities, the DOJ alleges that Epoch Times’ internal financial accounting showed a staggering 410% increase in annual revenue compared to the previous year, reaching approximately $62 million. 

When questioned by banks regarding the sudden surge in transactions, Guan allegedly lied, claiming that the funds originated from donations. However, in 2022, Guan wrote a letter falsely stating that donations constituted an insignificant portion of the company’s overall revenue.

Guan, residing in Secaucus, New Jersey, faces charges of conspiring to commit money laundering, carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and two counts of bank fraud, each carrying a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. 

The investigation involved collaboration between several law enforcement agencies. Jonathan Mellone, the Special Agent of the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG), emphasized their mission to investigate fraud allegations related to the US Department of Labor’s unemployment insurance program. 

The charges against the defendant are allegations, and the judge will determine any sentencing after trial.

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