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Richmond man accused of cleaning millions of dollars through real estate

Another B.C. civil forfeiture law suit has revealed allegations involving the illegal drug trade and real estate deals
Silver International was based out of this business centre at 5811 Cooney Road. Google Maps

A Richmond man connected to one of B.C.’s biggest ever money-laundering probes has been accused in a law suit of cleaning millions of dollars through local real estate deals.

Stephen Hai Peng Chen, also known as Hoy Pang Chan, is accused in the civil forfeiture suit, filed earlier this month, of using money derived from the illegal drug trade to buy and pay off properties in Richmond and Vancouver.

Chan, who used to live in Lansdowne Road, has yet to file a response to the law suit and the allegations contained within it have not been proven in court.

In the law suit, B.C.’s civil forfeiture office is trying to seize an East 5th Avenue house and West 42nd Street apartment, both in Vancouver, with an assessed combined value of $2.7 million.

It is also asking to seize more than $67,000 in cash. According to the court documents, Chan’s parents, Xiong Guang Chen and Jue Ming Chen, are named as owners of the properties in question.

Included in the law suit is references to how Chan laundered “...the proceeds from his drug trafficking activities (and), at times with his parents, purchased real property and registered mortgages against title to these properties.”

During an RCMP’s “E-Pirate” investigation in 2015, Chan was identified as one of the clients of an alleged illegal money services business in Richmond, called Silver International, which operated out of a business centre on Cooney Road.

According to a separate civil law suit, Silver International was allegedly laundering as much as $220 million a year for its clients.

Court documents say an analysis of ledgers seized at Silver International by the RCMP indicate Chan deposited $5.31 million and withdrew $2.27 million between June 1 and Oct. 1, 2015.

However, according to documents in the suit, an analysis of his tax returns, from 2006 to 2012, showed he had an average reported annual income of about $37,000.

The law suit details how, on the same day a police seized $2 million at Silver International - Oct. 15, 2015 - police also seized $60,010 in cash found in a bag hidden in a clothes dryer in Chan’s Lansdowne Road home.

Chan was arrested the next day in his car and almost $4,000 he had on him was seized.

The law suit claims, in August 2015, that Chan bought a Richmond home on Katsura Street – near Garden City Road and Westminster Highway - with mortgage financing and $84,000 in cash, before selling the property two months later.

Other details of how Chan allegedly moved money around included the obtaining of a $1.35 million bank credit line, with his parents, on the East 5th Avenue home and then using the credit and nearly $370,000 in cash to buy the West 42nd property.

Chan was nabbed in a separate 2015 RCMP investigation in Kelowna — dubbed E-NAOS — on allegations of drug trafficking.

Tarsem Singh Jawanda, who pled guilty to drug trafficking as a result of the investigation, met with Chan to pick up bags and boxes containing kilograms of the synthetic drug MDMA for sale, according to court documents.

Afterwards, Jawanda would meet Chan to pay him money for the drugs received from undercover officers, say the court filings.

Chan has been charged in the E-NAOS investigation with drug trafficking and that case is still before the courts, according to the court documents.

Chan has a criminal record dating back to 1990 that includes convictions for assault with a weapon; assault causing bodily harm; possession of property obtained by crime; making, having or dealing in instruments of counterfeiting; and extortion.

With files from the Vancouver Sun

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