ICE HSI probe results in Los Angeles-area man admitting to role in scheme in which he arranged fraudulent ‘green card’ marriages for Chinese nationals
LOS ANGELES – A San Gabriel Valley man pleaded guilty today to a federal conspiracy charge and admitted that he helped orchestrate a scheme in which Chinese nationals paid up to $60,000 to enter into sham marriages with U.S. citizens in the hope of obtaining "green cards."
This case is the result of an undercover investigation by the Los Angeles Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force – which is led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Chang Yu “Andy” He, 55, of Monterey Park, the owner of Fair Price Immigration Service, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud.
According to his plea agreement, from January 2018 to November 2019, He recruited United States citizens to enter into marriages with Chinese nationals, who then filed immigration documents with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Specifically, He planned to arrange fraudulent marriages for three pairs of Chinese nationals and U.S. citizens to obtain green cards. The U.S. citizens in these situations were actually undercover HSI special agents. He also met with a co-defendant and two other undercover agents for the purpose of arranging sham marriages between the agents and the Chinese nationals.
He admitted coaching the Chinese nationals and United States citizens on how to make their marriages appear genuine and how to pass interviews conducted by USCIS, including creating a fraudulent paper trail for the couples and memorizing answers to questions USCIS officers would ask during interviews.
According to court documents, He also instructed the “couples” to obtain joint bank accounts and joint apartment leases, keep clothes in the apartments where the couples supposedly lived together, and visit the apartment several days a week so the neighbors would see them together.
In October 2018, He introduced a U.S. citizen – who actually was an undercover HSI special agent – to co-defendant Xiaojun Han, 40, of Irvine, for the purpose of entering into a sham marriage to obtain a green card. He paid the undercover HSI agent $10,000 to enter into the sham marriage and, in April 2019, met with the agent at the Rosemead Public Library to help with Han’s immigration paperwork. He admitted telling the agent that he would be paid $25,000 when Han received her green card, as well as $5,000 at the end of the immigration process.
This investigation began in March 2017 based on information provided by an anonymous source. HSI criminal investigators believe the defendants’ clients learned about the service through word of mouth and from advertisements in Chinese newspapers.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald has scheduled a February 1, 2021 sentencing hearing, at which time He will face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
Co-defendants Huanzhang Wu, 29, of St. Paul, Minnesota and Zhongnan Liu, 34, of San Diego, who paid He to arrange their sham marriages, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Wu was sentenced to one year of probation. Liu’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 5.
Han and Xiulan “Cindy” Wang, 47, of San Gabriel, the owner of Pacific Bizhub Consulting, have a March 16, 2021 trial date scheduled in this case.
In addition to HSI, the Los Angeles Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security unit. The San Gabriel Police Department, the West Covina Police Department, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk and ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) assisted in the investigation.
This matter is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California’s Riverside Branch Office.