U.S. Files Complaint to Forfeit $500,000 in EB-5 Visa Investment Funds and Over $140,000 From Sanctioned Chinese Individual Accused of Procuring U.S. Origin Items for Sanctioned Iranian Entities
WASHINGTON - The United States filed a civil complaint today to forfeit more than $640,000 in funds from Wang Wei, a/k/a Jack Wang, whose companies allegedly were procuring U.S.-origin items and illegally supplying them to sanctioned entities in Iran.
The announcement was made by Jessie K. Liu, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Jill Sanborn, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division.
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and seeks the civil forfeiture of one ownership unit in the EB-5 Investment Program Cleveland International Fund - Medical Mart Hotel, set to mature in 2020 and pay out $500,000, and $141,086 allegedly laundered into the United States to Reekay Technology, one of Wang’s sanctioned companies.
According to the complaint, a law enforcement investigation into an Iranian procurement network revealed that Wang was the Beijing-based owner of several Iranian procurement front companies. On November 12, 2015, the U.S. Department of Commerce sanctioned Wang and his affiliated companies, Sky Rise Technology Ltd, TiMi Technologies Co Ltd, 32 Group China Ltd., Caprice Group Ltd, and Reekay Technology, for supplying U.S.-origin items to an Iranian party associated with the Iranian defense industry and to an Iranian party whose customers include companies designated by the Department of Treasury as Specially Designated Nationals.
Additionally, on March 21, 2017, the U.S. Department of State sanctioned Wang and his affiliated companies for transfers to Iran’s missile program.
The complaint alleges that at Wang’s direction, front companies, located in mainland China and Hong Kong, purchased sensitive U.S. origin technology on behalf of Iranian end users without the licenses required by the U.S. government. According to the complaint, Wang and his companies conducted more than 100 wire transfers from offshore U.S. dollar accounts worth more than $1.1 million as part of this scheme. The complaint alleges that at least $641,086 of these wires related to illegal procurements from companies that exported U.S. origin items to Wang, which he failed to disclose were going to Iran. The remaining approximately $533,063 in transactions reflect Wang conducting U.S. dollar wire transfers between overseas electronics manufacturers, distributors and telecommunications companies to procure items for sanctioned Iranian entities, the complaint alleges. As part of this scheme, a Chinese front company allegedly wired $141,086 to Reekay Technology. These funds were seized as they transited through the United States for Iranian sanctions violations, and represent one of the defendant properties.
The EB-5 visa program provides a method for eligible immigrant investors to become lawful permanent residents (i.e., “green card holders”) by investing at least $500,000 to finance a business in a targeted employment area in the United States that will employ at least 10 American workers. The Cleveland International Fund (“CiF”) is an Ohio-based regional center offering foreign nationals the opportunity to make investments in the United States for the ultimate purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship through the EB-5 investment visa program. Wang is an investor in CiF’s Medical Mart Hotel project, whose members consist of CiF as managing member, as well as individual overseas members who purchase their membership unit for $500,000, pursuant to EB-5 program. As alleged in the complaint, Wang laundered $500,000 into the United States in support of his EB-5 application, which was converted into one ownership unit in the Cleveland International Fund - Medical Mart Hotel, Ltd. These funds have been invested in a bond which will mature in 2020, and will result in a pay out at that time to Wang. The government seeks to forfeit Wang’s interest in the bond.
The complaint also seeks a civil monetary penalty against Wang for these sanctions and money laundering violations related to this scheme.
The claims made in the complaint are only allegations and do not constitute a determination of liability.
The FBI’s Minneapolis Divison, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) St. Paul, Minnesota, Office, and Department of Commerce are investigating the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S Attorneys Zia M. Faruqui, Ari Redbord, and Brian P. Hudak, all of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and Department of Justice Trial Attorney David Recker, of the National Security Division. Assistance is being provided by Paralegal Specialist Toni Anne Donato of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.