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Press Release

Three More Accused of Role in Scamming Elderly Nationwide

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Three people from California have been federally indicted and accused of participating in a conspiracy that used Taiwanese passports, fraudulent immigration documents and bank accounts and “money mules” to scam elderly victims nationwide, joining four others also accused of a role. 

On May 8, Bowen Chen, 21, of Monterey Park, Jiacheng Chen, 19, of East San Gabriel, and Vianne Chen, a.k.a. Tingting T. Chen, 41, were added to an indictment in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Four other Californians have already been indicted on charges including conspiracy to commit mail, bank and wire fraud: Liang Jin, 24, of Walnut, Tsz Yin Kan, 41, of Chino Hills, Kaiyu Wen, 25, of Irvine, and Yu-Chieh Huang, 22, of Chino Hills.

The expansion of the initial case in St. Louis was part of the Money Mule Initiative, an annual campaign to identify, disrupt, and criminally prosecute networks of individuals who transmit funds from fraud victims to international fraudsters. Fraudsters rely on money mules to aid a range of fraud schemes, including those that predominantly impact older Americans, such as lottery fraud, romance scams and grandparent scams as well as those that target businesses or government pandemic funds. This year, law enforcement took action to stop over 3,000 money mules. These actions ranged from criminal prosecutions to letters warning those who may have been unknowingly recruited by fraudsters. Agencies are also educating the public about how fraudsters use money mules and how to avoid unknowingly assisting fraud by receiving and transferring money.

The St. Louis indictment accuses Kan of setting up "USA You Yi Sheng Inc." as an education service business in California. Kan then produced fraudulent immigration paperwork known as the Form I-20, or "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status," the indictment says. Vianne Chen, a bank employee, as well as Kan and others opened student checking accounts using the fake I-20 forms and Taiwanese passports that had been shipped to Kan, the indictment says. 

Other scammers targeted older Americans with tech support fraud, romance fraud, and imposter schemes and tricked their victims into collecting and delivering large amounts of cash to money mules like Huang, the indictment says. Using the fraudulently-opened bank accounts, couriers converted the cash they collected from fraud victims and others engaged in criminal activity into cashier’s checks that they deposited into a bank account that has received more than $7 million, the indictment says.

Bowen Chen was the largest depositor into that account, accounting for $1.3 million, the indictment says. Jiacheng Chen deposited approximately $615,000 and Kan deposited $440,000, it says. 

Huang was the first to be charged in the case. In August, an elderly Missouri man was told via a pop-up ad that his computer was infected with a virus. He and his wife were then falsely told that someone had been accessing child pornography through the computer and they would have to pay $88,000 to avoid prosecution, according to charging documents. The Missouri couple gathered the money, but got suspicious and contacted police, who arrested Huang.

Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy Berry and Kyle Bateman are prosecuting the case.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has experienced financial fraud, experienced professionals are standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This Justice Department hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, can provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. English, Spanish, and other languages are available. The Federal Trade Commission also provides a hotline at 877-FTC-HELP and a website at to receive consumer complaints.

More information about the Department’s efforts to help American seniors is available at its Elder Justice Initiative webpage. For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit The Justice Department provides information about a variety of resources relating to elder fraud victimization through its Office for Victims of Crime, which are available at


Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer,

Updated May 13, 2024

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud