News and Press Releases

Naturalized U.S. Citizen Charged with Fraudulently Obtaining Citizenship

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 5, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), announce that defendant Chi Da Liu a/k/a Zhida Liao, 55, formerly of El Cerrito, California and Guatemala, has been arrested on charges of fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1425(b).

Liu was arrested in Northern California on September 3, 2013, where a U.S. Magistrate Judge ordered that he be detained and transported to the Southern District of Florida by the U.S. Marshals Service. Liu made his initial appearance this afternoon in federal court in Miami before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman. Liu waived his right to grand jury indictment and agreed to proceed by information. The information charges that on or about October 4, 2010, in San Francisco County, California, Liu knowingly applied for and attempted to obtain U.S. citizenship and evidence of naturalization and citizenship, to which he was not entitled.

In 2011 and 2012, Liu was convicted in two separate cases in the Southern District of Florida of visa fraud, a currency-reporting violation, and alien smuggling. In a plea agreement, Liu agreed to leave the United States within five days of his release from prison and to voluntarily renounce his U.S. citizenship within 10 days thereafter. Liu was released from federal prison on July 15, 2013, and did not leave the country prior to his arrest on September 3, 2013.

If convicted, Liu faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as mandatory revocation of his U.S. citizenship and cancellation of his naturalization certificate.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert T. Watson.

An information is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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