Chinese charged by US over crypto scams according to a Department of Justice notice. Two Chinese nationals were charged with laundering over $100 million worth of cryptocurrency from a hack of a cryptocurrency exchange. The funds were stolen by North Korean actors in 2018, as detailed in the civil forfeiture complaint also unsealed today.
In the two-count indictment unsealed today in the District of Columbia, 田寅寅 aka Tian Yinyin, and 李家东aka Li Jiadong, were charged with money laundering conspiracy and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
“These defendants allegedly laundered over a hundred million dollars worth of stolen cryptocurrency to obscure transactions for the benefit of actors based in North Korea,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Today’s actions underscore that the Department will pierce the veil of anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies to hold criminals accountable, no matter where they are located.”
“Today, we are publicly exposing a criminal network’s valuable support to North Korea’s cyber heist program and seizing the fruits of its crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “This case exemplifies the commitment of the United States government to work with foreign partners and the worldwide financial services industry to disrupt this blended threat.”
“The hacking of virtual currency exchanges and related money laundering for the benefit of North Korean actors poses a grave threat to the security and integrity of the global financial system,” said U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea of the District of Columbia. “These charges should serve as a reminder that law enforcement, through its partnerships and collaboration, will uncover illegal activity here and abroad, and charge those responsible for unlawful acts and seize illicit funds even when in the form of virtual currency.”
“North Korea continues to attack the growing worldwide ecosystem of virtual currency as a means to bypass the sanctions imposed on it by the United States and the United Nations Security Council. IRS-CI is committed to combatting the means and methods used by foreign and domestic adversaries to finance operations and activities that pose a threat to U.S. national security,” said Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Chief Don Fort. “We will continue to push our agency to the forefront of complex cyber investigations and work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners to ensure these nefarious criminals are stopped and that the integrity of the United States financial system is preserved.”
“The FBI will continue to actively work with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to identify and mitigate illicit movement of currency,” said Assistant Director Calvin Shivers of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Today’s indictment and sanctions send a strong message that the United States will not relent in holding accountable bad actors attempting to evade sanctions and undermine our financial system.”
“This case shows how important robust partnerships across the U.S. Government are in disrupting criminal actors,” said Acting Assistant Director Robert Wells of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.
“This indictment shows what can be accomplished when international law enforcement agencies work together to uncover complex cross-border crimes,” said Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “HSI is committed to upholding the rule of law and investigating those that would steal cryptocurrency for their illicit purposes.”