Province wants cash that was found in money-laundering probe

The B.C. government wants almost $40,000 found in a Richmond condo three years ago forfeited, alleging it is proceeds of money laundering.

The Director of Civil Forfeiture filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court to keep the cash that was bundled and stuffed in a clothes dryer in the home of Hua Wang on May 23, 2017.

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The suit says the condo at 8120 Jones Rd. was first searched in 2015 as part of the RCMP money laundering investigation known as E-Pirate.

“The RCMP seized various money ledgers, cash in the approximate amount of $538,624.90, and miscellaneous personal property from the residence,” says the statement of claim, filed on Jan. 23.

Wang’s son Paul King Jin was a target of the E-Pirate investigation, but was never charged. Jin, Wang, Jin’s father Gong Ping Jia, and niece Yuanyuan Jia have all been named in civil-forfeiture proceedings.

The latest case filed says that “in the course of the E-Pirate money-laundering investigation, the RCMP determined that various individuals including Paul King Jin, Gong Ping Jia, Yuanyuan Jia, and Ms. Wang were involved in unlicensed money services, money laundering, illegal gaming houses and/or had used the bank accounts of Ms. Wang and her spouse to transmit money from China to Canada as part of money laundering and unlawful gambling enterprise scheme.”

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit’s Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team began a separate money-laundering investigation dubbed E-Natonalize in May 2016.

“The CFSEU learned that Mrs. Wang and others were involved in money laundering and unlawful gambling schemes,” the lawsuit says.

As part of that probe, the Richmond condo, of which Wang’s granddaughter is the registered owner, was searched again on May 23, 2017, and the cash discovered and seized.

“The money, comprised of four bundles of cash wrapped in elastic bands inside a plastic bag, located inside a clothes dryer,” the court document says. “Affixed to the money was a yellow sticky note containing handwritten Chinese characters which read 39580 2017 May 22 Afternoon 3:30 and a 2016 tax assessment for Ms. Wang.”

The director alleges the cash was the proceeds of crime, as it was “bundled or packaged in a manner not consistent with standard banking practices.”

A police dog indicated the bundles had some form of “controlled substance residue” on them.

The government agency began “administrative forfeiture proceedings” to keep the cash, but received a notice of dispute from Wang on Dec. 24, 2019.

The suit alleges Wang has been involved in a conspiracy to launder money, as well as possessing the proceeds of crime and failing to declare taxable income.

Wang has not yet filed any statement of defence.

But earlier, Jin and his spouse Xiaoqi Wei denied allegations levelled in an earlier suit by the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office to seize cash and assets totalling millions, including the Jones Road condo, another property, and a Porsche.

The couple said in a court filing that they had not used their bank accounts and those of their parents to transfer large amounts of money from China to Canada, as the government alleged.

CFSEU said last April that E-Nationalize was one the largest investigations in the agency’s history and involved more than 400 police officers.

Reports to Crown prosecutors were sent last year totalling more than 600 pages, the agency said.

So far, no charges have been laid.

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