LOS ANGELES – A San Gabriel Valley man pleaded guilty today to a federal conspiracy charge and admitted that he helped 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 his plea agreement, from January 2018 to November 2019, He recruited United States citizens to enter into marriages with Chinese nationals, who then filed immigration documents with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Specifically, He planned to arrange fraudulent marriages for three pairs of Chinese nationals and U.S. citizens to obtain green cards. The U.S. citizens in these situations were actually undercover agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). He also met with a co-defendant and two other undercover agents for the purpose of arranging the agents into sham marriages with Chinese nationals.
He admitted coaching the Chinese nationals and United States 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, 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.
United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald has scheduled a February 1, 2021 sentencing hearing, at which time He will face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
Co-defendants Huanzhang Wu, 29, of St. Paul, Minnesota, 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 November 5.
Han and Xiulan “Cindy” Wang, 47, of San Gabriel, the owner of Pacific Bizhub Consulting, have a March 16, 2021 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.
This 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.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert S. Trisotto of the Riverside Branch Office and Jerry C. Yang, Chief of the Riverside Branch Office.