The FBI has apprehended three individuals—Zhong Shi Gao, Naifeng Xu, and Fei Jiang—accused of defrauding New York-area banks of over $10 million and attempting to convert the funds into cryptocurrency, according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams on Thursday.
The trio allegedly executed the scheme between 2018 and 2022, posing as victims of fraudulent money transfers to trick banks into crediting them the amounts of the supposed unauthorised transfers. Williams warned fraudsters relying on cryptocurrency for anonymity, stating that law enforcement agencies will track them down and hold them accountable.
“These charges should serve as a warning to fraudsters and cybercriminals who think they can turn to cryptocurrency to hide their identities – together with our partner agencies, we will find you and hold you accountable for your crimes,” William said.
Each accused individual faces multiple charges, including bank fraud conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy affecting a financial institution, money laundering conspiracy, and aggravated identity theft, with a potential combined maximum sentence of nearly 100 years. Authorities revealed that the men enlisted foreign nationals from China and Taiwan to open U.S. bank accounts to manage the fraudulent transfers.