CFO of Epoch Times arrested over accusations he laundered $67m in unemployment benefits and other fraud | News UK Video News

The chief financial officer of global news outlet The Epoch Times has been arrested and accused of laundering $67m.

Weidong ‘Bill’ Guan, 61, of New Jersey appeared before a judge in New York on Monday on money laundering and bank fraud charges after being arrested on Sunday. He pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors said members of the Epoch Times’ Make Money Online team, which was managed by Guan, used cryptocurrency to “knowingly purchase tens of millions of dollars in crime proceeds”.

This included funds from fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits that were loaded on to prepaid debit cards, according to prosecutors.

Stolen personal information was then used to open accounts as part of the alleged laundering scheme, prosecutors said.

The money was then allegedly laundered again through other bank accounts held by Epoch and Guan’s personal bank and cryptocurrency accounts.

Guan suspended

Assistant Federal Defender Ariel Werner, listed in court records as Guan’s attorney, declined to comment on the charges.

The Epoch Times was not named in the indictment released on Monday, but instead was referred to as a “multinational media company.”

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In a statement, the news organisation said it would cooperate with the federal probe.

“The Epoch Times has a guiding principle that elevates integrity in its dealings above everything else. The company intends to and will fully cooperate with any investigation dealing with the allegations against Mr. Guan,” according to a written statement.

“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.”

Prosecutors said the charges are not related to the media company’s newsgathering activities.

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The media company’s revenues jumped approximately 410% when the alleged money laundering began, from approximately $15 million to $62 million, they said.

Guan allegedly lied to banks when they asked about the increase in transactions and said there was an increase in legitimate donations.


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