Just days after Trump was found guilty, the CFO of the far-right newspaper Epoch Times was arrested and charged in a $67 million money-laundering crypto scam. The Epoch Times, of course, promotes and helps fund the ubiquitously advertised propaganda dance show Shen Yun.

Shen Yun ads may be the Bay Area’s funniest running joke of the last ten or so years. But where do they get such a gargantuan advertising budget for a show that has, frankly, a very limited, specific appeal? The Chronicle dug into Shen Yun’s finances in 2020, and shockingly, found that “Shen Yun Performing Arts itself spends no money on advertising, instead relying on the smaller Falun Dafa nonprofits, based out of regions across the country, to promote the shows in their areas.”

So where do these Falun Gong-related nonprofits get their money? That’s the million-dollar (haha) question. NBC News looked into it in 2019, and found an important cog in this machine is the seemingly obscure right-wing Chinese-American newspaper and website known as the Epoch Times.

“The Epoch Media Group, along with Shen Yun, a dance troupe known for its ubiquitous advertising and unsettling performances, make up the outreach effort of Falun Gong, a relatively new spiritual practice that combines ancient Chinese meditative exercises, mysticism and often ultraconservative cultural worldviews,” NBC News reported. “Though the source of their revenue is unclear, the most recent financial records from each organization paint a picture of an overall business thriving in the Trump era.”

Thriving, hmmm? We may have some insight into how they’re thriving, as CNBC reported today that the CFO of the Epoch Times has been arrested and charged in a $67 million money-laundering scheme involving crypto.

The Department of Justice announcement of his arrest does not mention the Epoch Times. It simply refers to the arrestee Weidong “Bill” Guan as “the Chief Financial Officer of a multinational media company headquartered in New York City,” who is charged with two counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

But as CNBC notes, Guan is listed as the Epoch Times’ CFO on their most recent tax data. And the DoJ announcement refers to his company as “a multinational media company headquartered in Manhattan, New York,” and the Epoch Times is on West 28th Street in Manhattan.

According to the Department of Justice, Guan “conspired with others to participate in a sprawling, transnational scheme to launder at least approximately $67 million of illegally obtained funds to bank accounts in the names of the Media Company and related entities.” That media company is the Epoch Times, and related entities might be those local "nonprofits” to which the Chronicle was referring.

Guan allegedly started a team in the company hilariously called the “Make Money Only” team (MMO). And that is exactly what they did, allegedly fueled with fake personal information, fraudulent unemployment benefits, and cryptocurrency schemes.

“Members of the MMO 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,” per the DoJ. “Once the crime proceeds were purchased, the MMO Team and other participants in the scheme used stolen personal identification information to open accounts, including prepaid debit card accounts, cryptocurrency accounts, and bank accounts, that were used to transfer the crime proceeds into bank accounts associated with the Media Entities.  After the crime proceeds reached those bank accounts, they were often further laundered through other bank accounts held by the Media Entities, Guan’s personal bank accounts, and through Guan’s personal cryptocurrency accounts.”

And the feds say that the Epoch Times’ annual revenue went up 410% during Guan’s alleged scheme, from $15 million to $62 million. That buys a lot of Shen Yun!

Per CNBC, Guan was arrested Sunday, pleaded not guilty on Monday, and was released on a $3 million bond.

Related: Twitter and Facebook Remove Falun Gong, Saudi Disinformation Campaigns [SFist]

Image: Shen Yun via Facebook