A San Gabriel Valley man went before a federal judge Wednesday and admitted helping to 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.”
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 the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald scheduled a Feb. 1 sentencing hearing for He, who faces up to five years in federal prison.
According to his plea agreement, from January 2018 to November 2019, the defendant recruited United States citizens to enter into marriages with Chinese nationals, who then filed immigration documents with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Specifically, He planned to arrange fraudulent marriages for three pairs of Chinese nationals and U.S. citizens to obtain green cards, court documents show.
The U.S. citizens were actually undercover agents with Homeland Security Investigations. He also met with a co-defendant and two other undercover agents for the purpose of arranging sham marriages with Chinese nationals.
The defendant admitted coaching the Chinese nationals and U.S. citizens on how to make their marriages appear genuine and how to pass interviews conducted by the USCIS, such as by creating a fraudulent paper trail for the couples and memorizing answers to questions immigration service officers could ask during their USCIS interviews.
According to court documents filed in Los Angeles federal court, 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 federal 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 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, the plea agreement states.
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.
Co-defendants Huanzhang Wu, 29, of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Zhongnan Liu, 34, of San Diego, who paid He to arrange sham 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 Thursday in downtown Los Angeles.
Han and Xiulan “Cindy” Wang, 47, of San Gabriel, the owner of Pacific Bizhub Consulting, have a March 16 trial date scheduled in this case.
This investigation began in March 2017 based on information provided by an anonymous source. Law enforcement authorities believe the defendants’ clients learned about the service through word of mouth and from advertisements in Chinese newspapers.
The case is the result of an undercover investigation by the Los Angeles Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, which is led by HSI and includes representatives of 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, and the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk assisted in the investigation.