Leader of $25 million international money laundering ring pleads guilty – Also flooded Massachusetts with drugs

By Gangsters Inc. Editors

A New York man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Boston to leading a sophisticated international money laundering organization that also distributed large quantities of cocaine and MDMA (ecstasy).

36-year-old Jin Hua Zhang, of Staten Island, N.Y., pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. U.S. District Judge Angel Kelley scheduled sentencing for Feb. 1, 2024. Zhang was among 10 others charged in October 2022 in connection with the conspiracy. The defendants and one other were subsequently charged in a superseding indictment in May 2023.

“Today, Jin Hua Zhang admitted to leading a sophisticated, transnational criminal organization that flooded the streets of Massachusetts with kilos of cocaine and ecstasy and laundered at least $25 million through a global network in an attempt to conceal their criminal conduct,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division.

Zhang network

Zhang’s network was first detected in the greater Boston area, but alleged leaders and members of the organization were later identified throughout the United States and overseas. During a year-long investigation Zhang’s organization was infiltrated and it was determined that, for a fee, Zhang laundered bulk cash for drug dealers and laundered profits from other illegal businesses and internet-based scams. Zhang directed alleged co-conspirators to pick up hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash or transmit millions of dollars in wire transfers and bank deposits. Zhang then converted those funds into cryptocurrency, which he believed would enable his organization to transfer illicit funds without detection by banks’ security teams or law enforcement.

Over numerous recorded conversations and meetings, Zhang, and allegedly others, discussed efforts to launder funds from drug trafficking and other scams and laundered money from fraud operations based in Cambodia. In less than one year, Zhang and his organization laundered at least $25 million worth of drug proceeds and funds from other illegal businesses through undercover agents. To date, funds have been traced from the Zhang Organization to Hong Kong and elsewhere including China, India, Cambodia and Brazil, among other locations.

In addition to money laundering, Zhang, and allegedly others, were recorded distributing kilograms of cocaine and MDMA that Zhang intended for distribution in Massachusetts.

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