Immigration Lawyer Agrees to Plead Guilty to Visa Fraud
SANTA ANA, California – A Laguna Beach attorney has admitted in court documents that she submitted dozens of fraudulent visa petitions to federal immigration authorities and failed to report the money generated by her fraud to the Internal Revenue Service.
In a plea agreement filed on Wednesday, Mihae Park, 53, agreed to plead guilty to two felony offenses – one count of visa fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. Park is scheduled to make her initial appearance in United States District Court on January 14.
According to her plea agreement, Park submitted at least 25 immigrant and non-immigrant work visa petitions to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that contained false information. Among other things in the fraudulent petitions filed between 2000 and 2017, Park listed an alias – Michelle Park – as the petitioner’s employer contact, stated petitioners had employees who were actually deceased or retired people, used bogus Social Security numbers for employees of petitioners, and submitted fake tax returns for work visa petitioners.
In 2013, Park submitted two fraudulent petitions on behalf of an Orange County educational company for two people she claimed would work there as a Chinese language teacher and as a music instructor, according to court documents. In reality, the company did not know or hire the two work visa beneficiaries, and the company did not offer classes in Chinese language or music, according to Park’s plea agreement.
Park also admitted filing false tax returns for the years 2009 through 2014 by failing to report receipts totaling $763,418 for this time period. As a result of her underreporting of her business income, Park had a deficiency in her federal income tax returns totaling $266,988 over this six-year period.
The government has seized $292,482 that Park received for the filing of fraudulent visa petitions, and also seized a 2012 Ferrari California and a 2015 Volkswagen GTI that Park purchased with the visa fraud proceeds, court papers state.
Once she pleads guilty to the two offenses, Park will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison on the visa fraud charge and up to three years’ imprisonment on the tax charge.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the IRS Criminal Investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence Kole of the Santa Ana Branch Office.