On November 15, 42-year-old Henyu "Bill" Wang of Dallas and Daniel Ray Lane, 42, of McKinney, Texas, were convicted on charges of attempting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The convictions are linked to their attempt to transact in sanctioned Iranian petroleum and launder the proceeds.
During the trial, evidence revealed that in 2019 and early 2020, Wang and Lane conspired to purchase petroleum from Iran, in clear violation of U.S. economic sanctions imposed under IEEPA. Their plan involved masking the origins of the petroleum and selling it to a refinery in China. To conceal their illicit transactions, the defendants went to great lengths, including obtaining foreign passports, engaging in sham contractual agreements, and conspiring to launder the proceeds through shell entities and offshore financial accounts.
Lane, in particular, offered to use mineral rights from his company to launder proceeds for the Iranian sellers. Additionally, Wang arranged for bribe payments to be made to Chinese officials and bankers. Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen emphasized the serious nature of their actions, stating, "The Justice Department will not tolerate those who would violate U.S. sanctions and imperil our national security for personal profit."
U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania emphasized the gravity of the offense, stating, "Conspiring to violate sanctions and commit money laundering in the process is a serious offense and will not be tolerated." Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard Langham of the FBI Philadelphia Field Office echoed this sentiment, calling their actions a "criminally bad idea."
Wang and Lane, along with three co-conspirators, were initially charged in February 2020. The defendants and two additional co-conspirators were indicted on the mentioned charges in August 2020. The convicted individuals face a maximum penalty of 45 years in prison, with sentencing scheduled for February 29, 2024. The FBI led the investigation in this case.