Epoch Times CFO Charged With $67M Fraud Scheme Involving Crypto Platform

The crime proceeds were generally purchased by the scheme participants at discounted rates of up to 80 cents per dollar in exchange for an unspecified cryptocurrency.

AccessTimeIconJun 4, 2024 at 7:06 a.m. UTC
Updated Jun 4, 2024 at 7:08 a.m. UTC
  • Epoch Times CFO Bill Guan was charged with participating in a scheme to launder $67 million in illicit funds to benefit himself and the company.
  • The scheme involved using cryptocurrency to purchase crime proceeds at a discount and funneling them into the company's accounts, leading to a significant increase in Epoch Times' reported annual revenue.

Epoch Times chief financial officer Bill Guan was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) early Tuesday. The DoJ accused him of being involved in a scheme to launder $67 million using crypto.

Epoch is a popular political conservative media outlet known for its criticism of the Chinese government.

Guan is accused of spearheading a scheme in which he managed Epoch’s “Make Money Online” team overseas from in or about 2020 through or about May 2024. These charges do not concern the firm’s news and information-gathering activities.

“Under Guan’s management, members of the team and others used cryptocurrency to knowingly purchase tens of millions of dollars in crime proceeds, including proceeds of fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits, that had been loaded onto tens of thousands of prepaid debit cards,” DoJ said.

The proceeds were then allegedly “laundered” through a certain cryptocurrency platform and turned into an unspecified cryptocurrency at 70 to 80 cents on the dollar. Team members then used stolen personal identification information to open accounts and funnel the profits there and subsequently into accounts held in their own names.

These funds were then further laundered through other bank accounts held by the media entity’s accounts, Guan’s personal bank accounts and through his crypto accounts.

Guan faces charges of conspiring to commit money laundering and bank fraud. The money laundering charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, while each bank fraud charge could result in up to 30 years imprisonment, as per the DoJ indictment.

Hints of possible wrongdoing emerged after investigators started looking into the company’s 410% increase in annual revenue, which flew to $62 million from a relatively lesser $15 million. Guan claimed the boost in funds came from “donations” at the time, which riled suspicion.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.

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Shaurya Malwa

Shaurya is the Deputy Managing Editor for the Data & Tokens team, focusing on decentralized finance, markets, on-chain data, and governance across all major and minor blockchains.


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