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Man admits to role in $25 million money laundering scheme involving Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, California, Florida



BOSTON – A California man pleaded guilty today to his involvement in a sophisticated international money laundering and drug trafficking organization.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Justice, 34-year-old Qinliang Chen of Rosemead, Calif., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. District Judge Angel Kelley scheduled sentencing for July 9, 2024.

In May 2023, Chen was among 12 individuals from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and California charged in a superseding indictment for their alleged involvement in a sophisticated international money laundering and drug trafficking organization allegedly led by Jin Hua Zhang.

According to the charging documents, Zhang’s organization was first detected in 2021 in the greater Boston area, throughout the United States and overseas. It was determined that for a fee, Zhang laundered bulk cash for drug dealers and laundered profits from other illegal businesses. In less than a year, Zhang and his organization allegedly laundered at least $25 million worth of drug proceeds and funds from other illegal businesses. Funds were allegedly traced and seized from the Zhang organization to Hong Kong and elsewhere in China, India, Cambodia and Brazil, among other locations.

            Chen served as a courier for the Zhang organization. In August and September 2022, Chen was sent to deliver $125,000 and $161,000 in cash, respectively, on behalf of the organization to a cooperating witness at a meeting location in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Chen had previously been stopped at Orlando International Airport trying to bring more than $99,000 in cash through a security checkpoint.

Zhang pleaded guilty in September 2023 and is scheduled to be sentenced in May 2024.

            The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $500,000, or twice the amount involved, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Pohl, Brian A. Fogerty and Meghan C. Cleary of the Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.


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