• Mon. Nov 30th, 2020

FORMER CHINESE OFFICIAL EXTRADITED TO U.S. TO FACE CHARGES OF MONEY LAUNDERING

ByGeorge Bao

Jun 1, 2020

LOS ANGELES – A former Chinese official who was a fugitive for over five years has been extradited from Sweden to Los Angeles to face federal charges that allege he laundered millions of dollars of stolen money, using some of the funds to purchase two properties in a suburban Los Angeles-area community, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

Jianjun Qiao (喬建軍), 56, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday after being extradited by Sweden. Qiao was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service and was held in federal custody over the weekend. He is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A federal grand jury in July 2014 indicted Qiao and his ex-wife, alleging two separate schemes. A superseding indictment against Qiao returned in December 2018 charges him with conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and international transport of stolen money, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and three counts of engaging in financial transactions in criminally derived property.

As the director of a grain storehouse in Zhoukou City, Henan Province, China, from 1998 to 2011, Qiao allegedly laundered millions of dollars in proceeds related to fraudulent transactions through banks in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The indictment further alleges that Qiao then used the stolen funds to, among other things, purchase two properties in Monterey Park.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Qiao’s ex-wife, Shilan Zhao (趙世蘭), 56, of Newcastle, Washington, pleaded guilty in January 2017 to conspiring with her husband to falsely portray themselves as still married and lying about the source of Zhao’s foreign investment, which was required under the EB-5 immigrant investor program to obtain U.S. immigrant visas. Zhao is scheduled to be sentenced in this case on August 17.

If he were to be convicted of the five charges alleged in the indictment, Qiao would face a statutory maximum sentences of five years in federal prison for the charge of conspiracy to commit international transport of stolen money, 20 years for the money laundering conspiracy charge, and 10 years for each count of engaging in financial transactions in criminally derived property. 

This case is the product of a joint investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and IRS Criminal Investigation, which received assistance from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Office of International Affairs of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division provided substantial assistance in extraditing Qiao from Sweden to the United States. The Justice Department extends its gratitude to the government of Sweden for making the extradition possible.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Roger A. Hsieh of the Major Frauds Section and John J. Kucera of the Asset Forfeiture Section.

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