Two men from North Texas were convicted at trial on Nov. 15, 2023, on charges of attempting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with their attempt to transact in sanctioned Iranian petroleum and launder the proceeds.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 2019 and early 2020, Zhenyu “Bill” Wang, 42, of Dallas, and Daniel Ray Lane, 42, of McKinney conspired to acquire petroleum from Iran, breaching the economic sanctions imposed by the United States under IEEPA. Their intention was to obscure the source of the petroleum and market it to a Chinese refinery. To further conceal their illicit activities, the defendants pursued the acquisition of foreign passports, entered into deceptive contractual agreements and collaborated on efforts to launder the sales proceeds through shell entities and offshore financial accounts.
Evidence showed that Lane offered to use the mineral rights that his company sold to launder proceeds for the Iranian sellers, while Wang arranged for bribe payments to be paid to Chinese officials and bankers.
“The defendants in this case flouted the national security interests of the United States by directly violating economic sanctions,” said U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero. “Conspiring to violate sanctions and commit money laundering in the process is a serious offense and will not be tolerated.”
Initially, Wang and Lane, along with three accomplices, faced charges through a complaint filed in February 2020. In August 2020, the defendants and two co-conspirators were formally indicted on the mentioned charges.
Wang and Lane individually confront a maximum imprisonment term of 45 years, including five years for conspiring to violate IEEPA and 20 years each for attempted IEEPA violation and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The sentencing for the defendants is slated for Feb. 29, 2024.