Seven Defendants Charged for Laundering Over $28 Million for DTO
NEW YORK - Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced charges today against seven individuals involved in laundering tens of millions of dollars for drug trafficking organizations selling illegal narcotics throughout the United States. YING SUN, JIAN WANG, FRANK LIU, DIELONG WU, LARRY LAI, and JIE LIN, are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmission business; STEVEN WOO was also charged as part of the conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmission business. SUN, LIU, and WOO were arrested in California and will be presented in the Central District of California this afternoon before Magistrate Judge John D. Early. WU and LAI were arrested today in New York and will be presented in the Southern District of New York before Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker. WANG and LIN remain at large. During the investigation, law enforcement agents seized over $6.5 million from the defendants’ money laundering organization, and, in coordination with unsealing the charges today, seized an additional $8 million in assets traceable to the illicit proceeds laundered by the organization. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said, “One of the most powerful criminal elements of transnational drug trafficking organizations is money laundering. Like any business, the ultimate goal of drug trafficking is to profit. These money laundering networks provide an invaluable service to traffickers, transferring their ill-gotten gains across the globe. The men and women of the DEA are focused on bringing to justice not only drug traffickers, but anyone who facilitates the drug trade.”
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said, “Like drug dealers, those who launder the proceeds of drug trafficking profit from the sale of dangerous narcotics that wreak havoc in communities throughout the United States. As alleged, the individuals arrested today facilitated drug traffickers by concealing millions of dollars of their ill-gotten profits. Our Office will continue to work closely with the DEA and our law enforcement partners to go after the money networks that are necessary to the operations of the international drug trade.”
From at least November 2019 through May 2021, SUN coordinated the activities of a money laundering organization (“MLO”), communicating with drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States and in Mexico to receive large quantities of cash to be laundered. From April 2020 through April 2021, SUN organized more than 130 money pickups in 23 states involving over $20 million in drug trafficking proceeds. WANG, LIU, WU, LAI, LIN, and WOO facilitated the MLO’s operations by conducting these money pickups, transporting the cash, depositing the money into the retail banking system, and/or transferring the money to different individuals or entities.
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement agents conducted numerous seizures of bulk currency in connection with the money pickups conducted by the MLO, and seized over $6.5 million.
SUN, 65, of Arcadia, California, WANG, 52, of Rosemead, California, LIU, 65, of Yorba Linda, California, WU, 58, of Staten Island, New York, LAI, 69, of Queens, New York, and LIN, 58, of Upland, California, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and, along with WOO, 69, of Montebello, California, one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmission business, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding work of the DEA. She also thanked the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California for their assistance.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Brett M. Kalikow is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.