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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Defendant Charged in Brooklyn Federal Court with For-Profit Visa Fraud and Alien Smuggling Scheme

BROOKLYN, NY – Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, an indictment was unsealed charging Haiyan Liao in connection with a scheme to commit visa fraud, money laundering and illegally bring Chinese nationals into the United States for financial gain.  Liao was arrested this morning in Las Vegas, Nevada and will make her initial appearance tomorrow in United States District Court, District of Nevada before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elayna Youchah.

Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, David P. Burns, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Jeffrey A. Thomas, Deputy Assistant Director of Investigations, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, announced the arrest and charges.

“As alleged in the indictment, Liao aided and abetted aliens who paid thousands of dollars for her fraudulent immigration services,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme.  “The defendant provided fake documents and coached her accomplices regarding how to lie during visa interviews and customs checks.  Our Office and our law enforcement agency partners remain vigilant and committed to protecting the integrity of the immigration process and our border security and preventing criminals from seeking profit in the subversion of the rule of law.”

The United States benefits from the rich diversity of culture and experience which results from lawful immigration into our country,” stated Acting Assistant Attorney General Burns.  “This defendant, however, is charged with submitting false applications for visitor visas to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou and engaging in money laundering as part of a multi-year alien smuggling business that brought Chinese nationals into the United States illegally. This indictment underscores that those who seek to thwart our system of legal immigration to line their own pockets will be prosecuted.”

“The Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) is firmly committed to protecting the integrity of all U.S. visas and travel documents,” stated DSS Deputy Assistant Director Thomas. “This case is the result of a strong partnership among federal law enforcement agencies and DSS’ global network of special agents working together to stop visa and passport crimes, and to stop criminals from earning illegal income by exploiting U.S. visas, passports, and foreign nationals.”

According to the indictment, between January 2014 and December 2015, Liao conspired with others in a scheme to fraudulently obtain visitor visas for aliens from China by submitting applications containing false statements to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China.  In addition, Liao and her co-conspirators obtained fraudulent documents for aliens to present to the Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, including fake birth certificates, marriage certificates, national identity cards, property deeds and employment verification purportedly to show they had strong ties to China and were likely to return to their homeland.  Liao and her co-conspirators allegedly met with alien applicants and instructed them to falsely answer questions during their visa interviews.  For the aliens whose applications were approved, Liao and her co-conspirators facilitated their travel to the United States by purchasing airline tickets, accompanying them on commercial flights and instructing them how to clear customs after they arrived in the United States.  The aliens and their families paid the defendant thousands of dollars to obtain the fraudulent visas.  Liao and her co-conspirators allegedly wired proceeds of the scheme from China to the United States.  Liao’s co-defendant in the indictment, Ned Michael Moriearty, was recently deceased.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Liao faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment. 

This case is being investigated by the Diplomatic Security Service, Criminal Fraud Investigations Unit.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nomi Berenson of the Eastern District of New York and Trial Attorney Rami S. Badawy of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. 

The Defendant:

HAIYAN LIAO
Age:  43
Las Vegas Nevada

E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 20-CR-500 (SJ)

Attachment(s): 
Topic(s): 
Immigration
Contact: 
John Marzulli United States Attorney's Office (718) 254-6323
Updated January 13, 2021