Toy Seller Gets 8 Months for Black Market Peso Exchange

     (CN) – The co-owner of a Los Angeles-area toy wholesaler got eight months in prison for helping international drug-trafficking organizations launder money in a “black market peso exchange,” federal prosecutors say.
     Dan “Daisy” Xi Lin, 44, of Diamond Bar, Calif., and her husband, Jia “Gary” Hui Zhou, pleaded guilty in September to conspiring to use “structured” cash deposits to duck laws requiring them to report cash transactions of more than $10,000.
     Federal prosecutors say the couple used their store, Woody Toys, to launder drug money from Mexico and Colombia. From 2005 through 2011, Lin and Zhou received about $3 million in structured cash deposits of less than $10,000 to keep the cash under the radar, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
     The deposits were part of a black market peso exchange in which foreign toy retailers with Colombian and Mexican pesos would buy Woody Toys merchandise with discounted U.S. dollars.
     “The dollars being ‘sold’ were allegedly proceeds from illegal drug sales that had been deposited in the toy company’s accounts or delivered to the business,” the press release states. “The Colombian or Mexican pesos the currency broker received from the foreign toy retailer were remitted to the drug trafficking organizations.”
     U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner sentenced Lin to eight months in prison followed by six months of home detention.
     He delayed Zhou’s sentencing until Jan. 6, 2013.
     The couple agreed to forfeit $2 million in proceeds from the money-laundering scheme, most of which was paid last Wednesday, according to prosecutors.
     Authorities reportedly began investigating Woody Toys in 2010 based on evidence uncovered in similar probe targeting Angel Toys, whose owners also went to prison. Woody Toys subsequently hired several former employees of Angel Toys.

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