A 41-year-old Irvine woman pleaded guilty Tuesday for her part in an Orange County-based scheme to gain citizenship for the offspring of pregnant Chinese nationals, who give birth in the U.S.
Dongyuan Li, who is a Chinese national, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and a count of visa fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She was scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 16.
Li is among 19 defendants indicted in what authorities call “birth tourism” in which wealthy foreign nationals arrange to have children in the U.S. to gain citizenship. Li operated a birth tourism company in Irvine and in China called “You Win USA Vacation Services Corp.,” according to her plea agreement.
Li’s company advertised it had served more than 500 customers, according to her indictment. She used 20 apartments in Irvine to operate the business where customers would pay $40,000 to $80,000, the indictment alleged.
Li received $3 million in international wire transfers from China in two years, prosecutors said. Li has agreed to give up more than $850,000, a Murrieta residence worth about $500,000 and several Mercedes-Benz vehicles, according to her plea agreement.
Her customers would lie on visa applications and she would coach the customers on how to get through a consulate interview in China, prosecutors said.
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