Chuck Gray Strips North Korean Businesses Of Wyoming Licenses After Flagged By FBI

Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray on Tuesday stripped three businesses of their Wyoming LLC licenses after the FBI flagged them as fronting for North Korean interests.

Leo Wolfson

May 21, 20245 min read

Chuck gray 4 11 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Three businesses with suspected ties to North Korea have been stripped of their licensing to operate as a registered business in Wyoming.

That’s a result of the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office dissolving the limited liability corporations of the businesses after being informed by the FBI they are connected to North Korea.

Based on information provided by the FBI, it’s believed Culture Box LLC, Next Nets LLC and Blackish Tech LLC provided fraudulent information to the Secretary of State’s office to register in Wyoming. Culture Box had already been administratively dissolved by the office in December for failing to pay its state dues.

“The communist, authoritarian Kim Jong Un regime has no place in Wyoming,” Secretary of State Chuck Gray said in a Tuesday press release. “Our office worked quickly and expeditiously to begin the administrative dissolution process.”

The FBI believes the businesses were involved in transactions or attempted transactions that constitute international money laundering, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. All three of the company websites have been seized by the FBI and are no longer visible.

All three companies were registered by Registered Agents Inc., an LLC registration firm based in Sheridan.

Blackish Tech and Culture Box were registered with the state in 2022 and Next Nets in 2023.

According to the FBI affidavit, unknown and known foreign people transferred money from an unknown international location to somewhere in the United States to register the businesses with the intent of making money for North Korea, in violation of U.S. sanctions on the country. Because of that, they are subject to criminal forfeiture.

The FBI reports that these types of LLCs are often registered in the United States through business registry services, and its members sometimes steal the identities of people who had a previous relationship with the North Korean IT workers.

The affidavit reports that this type of activity is prevalent in the U.S.

Instead of their respective websites, this is what people going to three businesses that have been shut down by the Wyoming Secretary of State's office and the FBI with alleged ties to North Korea.
Instead of their respective websites, this is what people going to three businesses that have been shut down by the Wyoming Secretary of State's office and the FBI with alleged ties to North Korea. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

How It Happened?

In December 2023, the FBI interviewed a person who was an assistant for a North Korean company already seized by the FBI. That same day, this person received a laptop in the mail, which the FBI instructed to hand over to the agency.

Three days later, a person who claimed to work for Blackish Tech said they were instructed to pick up the laptop. The next day, that person came and attempted to pick up the laptop.

The FBI believes this person worked for the same group of North Korean IT workers and needed the laptop to be shipped to another person to maintain employment with a state government entity. This person was subsequently identified.

About a week later, an unnamed FBI special agent identified Blackish Tech as a registered LLC in Wyoming.

A federal warrant revealed that Blackish Tech was connected to North Korea sources and made payments to other North Korea-connected shell companies registered with similar names.

Investigators found that the same email address and ownership that was used to make payments for Blackish Tech was also used for Culture Box and Next Nets, the two other LLCs also registered in Wyoming.

Screenshots provided in the affidavit of the Blackish Tech website show the company promoting its services in somewhat broken English.


Over the last 16 years, there have been a number of sanctions brought against North Korea under the administrations of former presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

In 2018, then-Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin clarified that these sanctions included prohibitions on the export of financial services from the United States or by any American to North Korea, unless exempt or authorized by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office. This barred U.S. banks from providing services to North Korean entities.

According to the affidavit, in August 2019, the FBI interviewed someone who had allowed another person subsequently identified as a North Korean IT worker employed by Yanbian Silverstar, a North Korean technology company based in China, to use a U.S.-based freelancer platform. They had also allowed the North Korean to use laptops at an American’s house, which they paid $100 per month per laptop to use.

The FBI investigation subsequently identified hundreds of financial and communication accounts associated to Yanbian and other North Korean IT worker groups, the affidavit says.

In 2022, two Missouri federal judges signed search warrants for numerous Google and Microsoft accounts associated with Yanbian. This revealed North Koreans conversating in their native language about using the identities of Americans and other people based around the world to open accounts at payment and freelancer platforms.


Wyoming has some of the most private LLC registration laws in the country, which allows people to easily cloak their identities when filing with the state, which has some of the lowest registration fees in the nation.

Last month, a Fremont County investigation revealed an influx of out-of-state businesses filing to addresses in that county, often unbeknownst to the actual property owners. In another instance, there were 551 different businesses registered to a single address.

Gray said his office has proposed several interim topics to the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee of the Wyoming Legislature to take further administrative action against entities on the basis of their being owned or controlled by foreign adversaries.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter