ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A federal jury convicted a Chinese national living in D.C. on Thursday, on charges of conspiracy, fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.
According to court records, Qinbin Chen, was the leader of an international money laundering scheme. Chen would manipulate mostly elderly residents all over the country into buying Walmart gift cards. He would tell them various lies such as their social security numbers had been compromised, or their bank account had been hacked. Chen would even pretend to be I.T. and tell the victims that their computer had a virus, to gain access to their accounts.
Once they were vulnerable, Chen would coerce them into buying Walmart gift cards. The victims would send the gift cards to Chen, then he would disappear with their money and information.
Chen would then take the gift cards and have accomplishes buy new gift cards. The ‘clean’ gift cards would then be sold to overseas buyers to become untraceable.
Chen managed to launder about $7 million from this scheme. The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office assisted in his prosecution. Now, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Chen is scheduled to be sentenced on December 18.