Three Defendants Extradited from Germany, Morocco and Romania to Face Charges Related to Russian Cyberfraud Scheme
A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging two People’s Republic of China (PRC) intelligence officers with attempting to obstruct a criminal prosecution in the Eastern District of New York. The defendants remain at large.
According to court documents, Guochun He, also known as “Dong He” and “Jacky He,” and Zheng Wang, also known as “Zen Wang,” allegedly orchestrated a scheme to steal files and other information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York related to the ongoing federal criminal investigation and prosecution of a global telecommunications company (Company-1) based in the PRC, including by paying approximately $61,000 in Bitcoin bribes to a U.S. government employee who the defendants believed had been recruited to work for the PRC, but who in fact was a double agent working on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Matthew G. Olsen, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Christopher Wray, Director, FBI, announced the charges.
“Today’s complaint underscores the unrelenting efforts of the PRC government to undermine the rule of law,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “As alleged, the case involves an effort by PRC intelligence officers to obstruct an ongoing criminal prosecution by making bribes to obtain files from this Office and sharing them with a global telecommunications company that is a charged defendant in an ongoing prosecution. We will always act decisively to counteract criminal acts that target our system of justice.”
“Far more than an effort to collect information or intelligence, the actions of the PRC intelligence officers charged in this case must be called out for what they are: an extraordinary intervention by agents of a foreign government to interfere with the integrity of the U.S. criminal justice system, compromise a U.S. government employee, and obstruct the enforcement of U.S. law to benefit a PRC-based commercial enterprise,” stated Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew G. Olsen. “The Department of Justice will not abide nation-state actors meddling in U.S. criminal process and investigations, and will not tolerate foreign interference with the fair administration of justice.”
“The mission of the FBI is to protect both the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States—and this case represents a threat to both,” stated FBI Director Wray. “By attempting to steal documents from the Eastern District of New York, intelligence officers from the People’s Republic of China threatened not just the proceedings of our criminal justice system but the very idea of justice itself. A threat to justice is a threat to the foundation of our free society, and the FBI remains constantly vigilant and committed to protecting the U.S. from these threats.”
Guochun He and Zheng Wang are charged with attempting to obstruct a criminal prosecution of Company-1 in federal district court in the Eastern District of New York. Defendant He also is charged with two counts of money laundering based upon bribe payments totaling approximately $61,000 in Bitcoin, made in furtherance of the scheme.
According to the complaint, the defendants are PRC intelligence officers conducting foreign intelligence operations targeting the United States, on behalf of the PRC government and for the benefit of Company-1. Starting in 2019, they directed an employee at a U.S. government law enforcement agency (GE-1), whom they believed they had recruited as an asset, to steal confidential information about the criminal prosecution of Company-1 in order to interfere with that prosecution. In actuality, GE-1 was working as a double agent on behalf of the FBI.
In September 2021, the defendants tasked GE-1 with reporting about meetings that GE-1 was purportedly having with prosecutors in Brooklyn at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. In written communications, the defendants said they were particularly interested in knowing which Company-1 employees had been interviewed by the government and in obtaining a description of the prosecutors’ evidence, witness list, and trial strategy.
In October 2021, GE-1 used an encrypted messaging program to send the defendants a single page from a purported internal strategy memorandum from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York regarding the Company-1 case. The document appeared to be classified as “SECRET” and to discuss a plan to charge and arrest two current Company-1 employees living in the PRC. Guochun He responded that the document was “exactly what I am waiting for” and that he was “waiting for the feedback from some guys” about whether there were any questions about the document. Guochun He then paid GE-1 approximately $41,000 in Bitcoin for stealing that document.
GE-1 also asked the defendants for any feedback about the “SECRET” document. In November 2021, Guochun He stated that “[Company-1] didn’t give me specifically feedback now yet, but they are obviously interested in it, and my boss and they need further information.” Guochun He further told GE-1 that “[Company-1] obviously will be interested” in GE-1 stealing another part of the strategy memorandum, and “maybe will offer more” for that information. In December 2021, in response to a further request by GE-1 for feedback or guidance from Company-1 about “what they want me to get,” Guochun He explained that “they didn’t give me any positive feedback yet, and demanded to communicate with you directly.” Guochun He said that he refused Company-1’s request to speak directly to GE-1 because “it’s too dangerous.”
More recently, in late September 2022, Guochun He told GE-1 that he intended to provide GE-1 with additional payment in Bitcoin for the information GE-1 had provided, because Guochun He’s “organization already decided to give a good reward to you.” Guochun He subsequently, in October 2022, paid GE-1 approximately $20,000 in Bitcoin.
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Guochun He faces up to 60 years of imprisonment and Wang faces up to 20 years of imprisonment.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander A. Solomon and Meredith A. Arfa and Trial Attorney Scott A. Claffee of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are in charge of the prosecution.
Guochun HE, also known as “DONG HE” or “JACKY HE”
PEOPLE’s REPUBLIC OF CHINA
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-MJ-1137
ZHENG WANG, also known as “ZEN WANG”
PEOPLE’s REPUBLIC OF CHINA
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-MJ-1137
 The documents described in the complaint were prepared by the government for purposes of the investigation and were neither taken from any actual document related to the prosecution of Company-1 nor classified as “SECRET.” Furthermore, the information in the complaint that was provided by GE-1 to the defendants did not accurately recount actual meetings, communications, or other strategy related to the Company-1 prosecution.
Danielle Blustein Hass
U.S. Attorney's Office