Feds say Charlotte businessman at center of international money laundering scheme

Federal agents say a Charlotte businessman was at the heart of an international multimillion dollar money laundering scheme that involved Chinese money couriers.

The man has not been charged in connection to the case.

According to court documents Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke came across, the man owns high-end sneaker and gear businesses, including Social Status.

IRS investigators say he bought athletic shoes and apparel from a major un-named sneaker company. Authorities said the contract forbid him from selling those items to other retailers or selling them outside the U.S.

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But agents claim the business owner did both, selling them to a Chinese national who then resold the items -- at least $32 million worth -- over a five-year period.

>>Learn more about this investigation in the video at the top of this webpage.

Investigators said the group didn’t report cash payments over $10,000 like it was supposed to, lied to U.S. banks, and potentially broke federal anti-money laundering law.

The man does not face charges at this point.

Stoogenke reached out to him in three different ways on Monday and has yet to hear back.

In general, Stoogenke says money laundering organizations have become underground banking systems that have taken off over the last few years, “cleaning” money from romance scams, drug trafficking, and other crimes.

Social Status shared a statement on Instagram in response to the federal investigation.

“To be clear, while we take the allegations in the complaint seriously, they are unfounded, unrelated to our business or this community and unjustified,” the statement reads.

Read the full statement below:

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