Epoch Times CFO Charged In Money Laundering Scheme

(RightWing.org) – A top executive at a popular conservative news outlet has been charged with money laundering. Bill Guan, the Chief Financial Officer at The Epoch Times, is accused of channeling tens of millions of dollars through an online cryptocurrency broker. The money was allegedly the proceeds of crime.

CFO Bought Stolen Money

The Epoch Times is a right-leaning newspaper and online media outlet. It was founded in May 2000 by grad student John Tang, and financed by anti-communist Chinese-American investors. Originally based in Georgia, it now has its headquarters in New York City.

The outlet is closely aligned with the Falun Gong religious movement and strongly opposed to the Chinese Communist Party — it’s been blocked in China by the regime’s censors. In the US it’s supported by former president Donald Trump and other leading conservatives, but liberals tend to dismiss it as “far right.”

On June 2, 61-year-old CFO Weidong Guan, AKA Bill Guan, was arrested in New York. The next day he was charged with money laundering. Prosecutors allege that starting around 2020, Guan and members of Epoch Times’s “Make Money Online” (MMO) team bought at least $67 million worth of crime proceeds at a discount of around 20 or 30 cents on the dollar. The money is believed to have come from welfare fraud and other crimes.

Because the money was illegally obtained, it was too risky to use. To launder it, Guan bought it using cryptocurrency. Then he bought stolen personal details from identity thieves and used that to set up fake bank accounts, which he used to transfer money into accounts linked to Epoch Times. From there he shuffled it around between the company’s accounts to obscure its origins even more.

It isn’t likely this financial activity went unnoticed inside Epoch Times. Prosecutors say that when the scheme began, the company’s annual revenue suddenly jumped from $15 million to $62 million, a 410% increase. When banks enquired about the sudden flow of cash, however, Guan said it had come from donations.

Bad News for Outlet

Now Guan has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of bank fraud. Between these three charges, he could be facing a total of 80 years in prison. Epoch Times has also suspended him and told the BBC it would fully cooperate in the investigation. However, this leaves the network with a problem. If prosecutors have read the evidence correctly, better than 80% of Epoch Times’s money was coming from Guan’s alleged activities. Losing that revenue will put a big dent in its ability to report the news.

Copyright 2024, RightWing.org