Undercover FBI agent described money laundering operation sanctioned by “Shrimp Boy”

Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow. (Jen Siska/Special to S.F. Examiner)

An undercover FBI agent, known by his alias David Jordan, testified for a second day Wednesday about how he infiltrated a Chinatown gang and arranged money-laundering deals that were approved by Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow.

In the closed courtroom, barred to the public in order to protect his identity, fake mobster Jordan testified against the man the government alleges headed the organized crime group and orchestrated the deaths of two enemies.

While this narrative was presented by the government, little evidence was produced in wire taps played in court that explicitly implicated Chow. Instead, Jordan was often the one who said the most explicit statements. Chow and his associates, meanwhile, only seem to speak in generalities or euphemistically about what they do.

Chow, called Dai Lo or “big brother” by his associates, kept his distance from any direct criminal activity, Jordan testified. But Jordan added that Chow kicked down funds every time a deal went down.

In essence, said Jordan, Chow gave his associates his permission to work with Jordan but Chow stayed away from any deals.

Chow would leave the table or the room whenever business was discussed between Jordan and Chow’s associates. But Jordan said on the stand that Chow admitted, in cloaked language, that he was in charge.

At one point during a dinner, Jordan said Chow leaned over and whispered in Jordan’s ear. He was so close, said Jordan, that Chow’s moustache rubbed against his ear as he said, “I’m not involved in any criminal activity any more, but I know and approve of what is going on in the streets.”

At first those deals were ostensibly money-laundering operations to clean gambling money collected from Jordan’s family operations across the West Coast.

Co-defendant and former Chow driver George Nieh was caught on body wires and videotape talking about wiring funds to be laundered and on video collecting Starbucks bags full of cash.

“I’d present them with a bag of money,” Jordan said. “We would count it out, and I would give them a fee.” Jordan said he gave them 10 percent.

Jordan always made sure to hand over envelopes to Chow after the deals were done.

“I presented him with an envelope of cash and he said, ‘No, no, no, no,’ and took it,” said Jordan in court.

“He never asks for it but it’s a nice gesture,” said Jordan on a wire he was wearing.

“You’re broke but you dress so nice and you have such wonderful jewelry. I don’t know how you do it,” Jordan said to Chow in one 2011 wire recording.

Jordan also said that Chow told him he’d faced challenges to his power, but that statement was not caught on the wire.

“The last time somebody challenged him was five years ago and he dropped him,” Jordan said he was told by Chow.

The testimony also touched on the dispute Chow had with Jim Tat Kong, who was allegedly trying to take over another tong and was confronted by Chow for his behavior.

Meanwhile, Chow’s lawyers have argued that their client was broke at the time so took the money he was given by Jordan, but he in no way knew about or sanctioned illegal activity.


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