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A reporter for The Epoch Times holds a microphone during a media event on October 23, 2023 in Berlin, Germany. The Epoch Times is owned by Epoch Media Group and is affiliated with the Falun Gong movement. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
8:25 AM – Tuesday, June 4, 2024

The chief financial officer (CFO) of the Epoch Times Newspaper has been charged by the feds with money laundering, according to U.S. officials. 

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Weidong “Bill” Guan, CFO for the news site is accused of laundering $67 million in the alleged scheme, according to a Monday indictment by the U.S. Justice Department. 

The 61-year-old Guan used a cryptocurrency platform to buy up prepaid debit cards at a discount after they had money put on them that was obtained from fraudulent unemployment insurance claims, according to court documents. 

Justice Department officials claimed the alleged scheme increased the Epoch Times’ revenue by an eye-popping 400% in just a year, from $15 million to $62 million. 

Guan was taken into custody Monday evening, with his bail set at $3 million, according to The New York Times

Meanwhile, Guan has pleaded not guilty. If Guan is released, he must be confined to house arrest. 

Additionally, if Guan is convicted he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for money laundering and 30 years each for two separate bank fraud charges listed in the Justice Department indictment. 

However, the Epoch Times was not named in the indictment released Monday, but was instead referred to as a “multinational media company.” Prosecutors said the charges are not related to the media company’s news-gathering activities. 

“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.”

Furthermore, according to a May 23rd indictment released by federal prosecutors, Guan, who led a team titled “Make Money Online,” used stolen identification numbers of U.S. residents in a plot to obtain unemployment insurance benefits that were then used to load prepaid debit cards.

As a result, those prepaid debit cards were then sold at a discount of “approximately 70 to 80 cents per dollar” in exchange for cryptocurrency, it was alleged in the indictment. 

“Once purchased, the crime proceeds were transferred to bank accounts” belonging to Guan and the company, it was alleged.

Guan “conspired with others to benefit himself, the media company, and its affiliates by laundering tens of millions of dollars in fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits and other crime proceeds,” said US Attorney Damian Williams in a media release.

“When banks raised questions about the funds, Guan allegedly lied repeatedly and falsely claimed that the funds came from legitimate donations to the media company,” Williams said.

The Epoch Times distributes papers across the US, UK, France and Canada.

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