A Santa Fe Springs man and his daughter pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges alleging they operated a marriage fraud scheme in which Chinese nationals paid to wed U.S. citizens to obtain permanent resident cards.
Jason Shiao, 65, who allegedly posed as an immigration lawyer, and Lynn Leung, 43, of Pasadena, each entered pleas in downtown to Los Angeles to charges of marriage fraud, conspiracy to commit visa fraud and related counts.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael R. Wilner set trial for Nov. 17, with a pretrial hearing scheduled on Oct. 19, although those appearances are expected to be postponed.
Prosecutors allege that Chinese nationals paid the defendants up to $50,000 to enter into sham marriages in the hopes of obtaining lawful permanent resident cards — often referred to as “green cards” — that would allow them to legally live in the United States.
A third defendant charged in the case — Shannon Mendoza, 48, of Pacoima — is a fugitive.
An affidavit filed in the case outlines a scheme in which Shiao and Leung allegedly lined up U.S. citizen “spouses” for their clients and coached the couples on how to make the marriages appear genuine when questioned by immigration authorities.
They also allegedly prepared and filed immigration petitions and created fraudulent paper trails for the “couples,” including phony apartment leases, wedding photos and bank statements.
— City News Service