Former Anchorage Resident Sentenced to Federal Prison for International Money Laundering Conspiracy

DOJ - Department of Justice
DOJ - Department of Justice
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Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that Mitchell Zong, 45, a former Anchorage resident, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess to serve 30 months in federal prison, and to pay a fine of $10,000, for conspiracy to commit money laundering with his father, Kenneth Zong.

As determined by the court, the government’s investigation revealed that between Sept. 8, 2013, and April 4, 2014, Mitchell Zong conspired with his father, Kenneth Zong, to commit money laundering violations in excess of $10,000.  The money was the proceeds of a conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transaction and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR).  At sentencing, the Court found that Mitchell Zong laundered approximately $980,000 of Iranian derived funds in Anchorage, Alaska, knowing the funds came from his father’s illegal transactions with Iranian nationals.

In connection with this case, Mitchell Zong’s father, Kenneth Zong, has been under indictment in the District of Alaska for 47 violations of IEEPA, Providing Unlawful Services to the Government of Iran, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, and Money Laundering.  Three unnamed Iranian nationals are referenced in the indictment as unindicted Iranian co-conspirators.  Kenneth Zong is currently in custody in the Republic of South Korea for violations of Korean tax law, and after being convicted in 2015 for fraud related crimes connected to the IEEPA investigations.  

Mitchell Zong and other members of his family were ordered to forfeit to the United States approximately $10 million in assets, which were purchased with funds traceable to Kenneth Zong’s 2011 IEEPA activity in Seoul, South Korea.  In addition to the foregoing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a civil forfeiture complaint in July 2018 seeking to seize $20 million currently held in a sovereign wealth fund in the United Arab Emirates.  These funds, which are also traceable to Kenneth Zong’s illegal activity with three Iranian Nationals in South Korea, were part of a down payment made by Kenneth Zong’s Iranian co-conspirators for the purchase of a Sheraton Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia.  The forfeiture case against those funds remains pending.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) investigated Mitchell Zong’s crimes, leading to the successful prosecution of this case.  This case was prosecuted by Deputy Criminal Chief Steven E. Skrocki and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonas M. Walker.