BOSTON – A 40-year-old California man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in connection with a large-scale marijuana distribution and money-laundering ring operating between California and the East Coast.
Virayuth Chau, a/k/a David Chau, 40, of Temecula, Calif., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In September 2016, Chau was arrested and indicted along with co-conspirator Ratanack Oung, a/k/a Yoshi, 31, of Allentown, Penn.
U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled Chau’s sentencing for June 22.
Beginning around January 2014, Chau and Oung shipped large quantities of marijuana from California to the East Coast.
When payment for the marijuana was due, co-conspirators deposited cash (typically in an amount under $10,000) into one of many “feeder” accounts in banks on the East Coast.
The “feeder” accounts were maintained in the names of businesses or persons associated with Chau in order to disguise the nature and ownership of the drug proceeds flowing into the account.
Once the money was deposited, it was either withdrawn in cash in California or transferred into a “target” account, which was an account controlled by Chau and then withdrawn.
In total, the operation distributed between 1,000 and 3,000 kilograms of marijuana and laundered approximately $6,135,035 in drug proceeds.
Oung is scheduled to plead guilty on April 14.