A former Chinese official who was a fugitive for more than five years was extradited from Sweden to Los Angeles to face charges alleging he laundered millions of dollars and used some of the stolen funds to purchase properties in Monterey Park, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Jianjun Qiao, 56, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday and was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service. He pleaded not guilty Monday in Los Angeles federal court and was ordered detained. A July 28 trial date was scheduled.
A federal grand jury in July 2014 indicted Qiao and his ex-wife, alleging two separate schemes. A superseding indictment against Qiao returned in December 2018 charges him with conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and international transport of stolen money, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and three counts of engaging in financial transactions in criminally derived property.
If he were to be convicted of all charges, Qiao would face up to 55 years behind bars, , according to federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors allege that as the director of a grain storehouse in Zhoukou City, Henan Province, from 1998 to 2011, Qiao laundered millions of dollars in proceeds related to fraudulent transactions through banks in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. The indictment alleges that Qiao then used the stolen funds to, among other things, purchase the Monterey Park properties.
Qiao’s ex-wife, Shilan Zhao, 56, of Newcastle, Washington, pleaded guilty in January 2017 to conspiring with her former husband to falsely portray themselves as still married and lying about the source of Zhao’s foreign investment, which was required under the EB-5 immigrant investor program to obtain U.S. immigrant visas. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 17.