A Los Angeles federal grand jury has indicted two men in a scheme to obtain lawful permanent resident status for South Korean nationals by submitting fraudulent visa applications that falsely claimed American businesses wanted to hire skilled foreign workers, prosecutors announced Monday.
The indictment alleges that the defendants exploited the EB-2(a) visa program by submitting bogus Alien Worker Petitions on behalf of companies — some legitimate, some created specifically for the scheme — that purportedly wanted to hire foreign nationals after exhausting attempts to find suitable workers in the United States.
According to court documents, those South Korean visa applicants simply wanted to immigrate to the United States, and they paid between $30,000 and $70,000 to the defendants in the hopes of obtaining a visa.
Weon Keuk Lee, 49, a South Korean national and licensed California attorney who previously operated an immigration law firm in Los Angeles, and Young Shin Kim, 59, a naturalized United States citizen who previously operated an accounting firm in Diamond Bar and is now a farmer in Hesperia, each face a federal count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud. The charge carries a sentence of up to five years behind bars.
Kim was arrested Oct. 3 and during a hearing the next day, was ordered released on a $50,000 bond and ordered to appear for arraignment Friday.
Lee, 50, is believed to be currently living in Vietnam.
The indictment alleges that between 2007 and 2015, Lee and Kim filed 117 fraudulent Alien Worker Petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which resulted in the agency issuing more than 125 visas for alien workers, their spouses and their children.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: