Woodys Toys' Money Laundering Scheme Funneled $6 Million in 'Narco Cash,' Feds Say

Comments (0)


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 7:05 AM

click to enlarge Woody from 'Toy Story.' - DISNEY
  • Disney
  • Woody from 'Toy Story.'
With a name like Woody's Toys, it has to be good.

Good meaning bad. At least according to federal authorities, who this week threw the book at two co-owners, three employees and two clients of the City of Industry toy wholesaler for allegedly doing way more than importing toys.

A two-count indictment unsealed yesterday alleges that the 7 took bundles of "narco cash" and deposited it as part of a money laundering scheme:

Feds allege that the suspects took as much as $6 million, some delivered to parking-lot rendezvous in cellophane-wrapped bricks, failed to declare it to the IRS, and deposited it on behalf of customers from Mexico and Columbia.

A statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office alleges the scheme went like this:

... Foreign toy retailers with Colombian and Mexican pesos would contact currency brokers to buy discounted U.S. dollars to purchase merchandise from Woody Toys. The dollars being "sold" were allegedly proceeds from illegal drug sales that have been deposited in the toy company's accounts or delivered to the business. Finally, the Colombian or Mexican pesos the currency broker received from the foreign toy retailer are remitted to the drug trafficking organization.

Defendants were named as:

Jia "Gary" Hui Zhou, 43, of Diamond Bar, co-owner of Woody Toys;

Dan "Daisy" Xin Li, 43, of Diamond Bar, co-owner of Woody Toys;

Kit Yee Lam, 51, of Diamond Bar, accountant for Woody Toys;

Jazmin Contreras, 33, of Los Angeles, accountant for Woody Toys;

Anabel Rufino, 32, of Norwalk, sales manager for Woody Toys;

Jose Miguel Yong-Hinojosa, 26, of Guadalajara, Mexico, Woody Toys client; and

Luis Ernesto Flores Rivera, 53, of Guadalajara, Mexico, Woody Toys client.

The investigation began in late 2010 after "several" employees of wholesaler Angels Toys, where two top executives were convicted of money laundering, went to work for ... you guessed it, Woodys Toys.

Subtle move.

Defendants Zhou and Flores face conspiracy to launder money charges, which come with a possible 20-year prison sentence for those convicted.

The others were hit with charges of evading federal IRS reporting requirements, which come with a 5-year max.

Authorities also want to get their hands on $3.7 million in what they say constitutes laundering proceeds.

The government isn't playing around.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • Street League Skateboarding Super Crown World Championship
    On Sunday, Street League Skateboarding touched down in the Galen Center at USC as part of a four-stop tour for SLS's Super Crown World Championship. The L.A. stop determined the roster for Super Crown, airing August 24th on FOX Sports 1. The final eight are Nyjah Huston, Luan Oliveira, Torey Pudwill, Shane O'Neill, Paul Rodriguez, Chaz Ortiz, Matt Berger and Ishod Wair. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.
  • Comic-Con's "Celebrity" Autograph Area
    A sometimes overlooked (but still incredibly unique) aspect of San Diego Comic-Con are the celebs available to sign autographs, as well as the autograph seekers themselves. If you've ever wanted to meet the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld or the guy who played Michelangelo in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, chances are, as you wander the Autograph Area, you'll be able to connect with someone you didn't even realize you were waiting your whole life to meet! All photos by Rob Inderrieden.
  • Real Madrid Soccer Practice at UCLA
    Fans came out to greet world champion soccer team Real Madrid as they practice at UCLA. This is the first time that soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has practiced with the team this year. All photos by Jeff Cowan.