Former Station Chief For International Air Carrier Charged With Smuggling, Obstruction Of Justice, And Wire Fraud
Defendant Allegedly Smuggled Packages on Flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport to the People’s Republic of China on Behalf of PRC Military Personnel
Earlier today, a grand jury in Brooklyn returned a superseding indictment adding charges against Ying Lin, a former station chief for an international air carrier (the Air Carrier), for smuggling, obstruction of justice and wire fraud. An earlier indictment charged the defendant with structuring financial transactions, which is included in the superseding indictment as well. The defendant worked as a counter agent for the Air Carrier at John F. Kennedy International Airport and later as station chief for the Air Carrier at Newark Liberty International Airport. The defendant’s initial appearance on the superseding indictment is scheduled for Tuesday, September 6, 2016, at 12 noon, before Chief United States District Judge Dora L. Irizarry at the United States Courthouse in Brooklyn.
The charges were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Acting Assistant Director in Charge, George J. Ennis, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge, Angel M. Melendez, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
As alleged in the superseding indictment and other court documents filed by the government, the defendant received certain packages from military officers of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) who were stationed at the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations (the PRC Mission) and from other employees of the PRC Consulate in New York. The defendant then smuggled these packages onto Air Carrier flights departing JFK Airport for the PRC, in violation of applicable Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules and regulations and Air Carrier policies, which require that checked baggage be accepted only from ticketed passengers. In return, the defendant received various benefits from PRC employees, including discounted liquor purchased from diplomatic duty-free shops and tax-exempt purchases of electronic devices, as well as free contracting work at her personal residence performed by PRC construction workers. The defendant continued to engage in smuggling activities after her initial arrest in August 2015. In addition, the defendant also helped a PRC national that she believed was a target of a federal inquiry escape to the PRC aboard an Air Carrier flight from JFK Airport.
“The defendant repeatedly acted in direct contravention of rules and regulations providing for the safety of flights in the United States in order to reap personal benefits such as free contracting work and tax-free liquor and electronics,” stated United States Attorney Capers. “The defendant also engaged in obstructive conduct even after she had been arrested in this case. She will now be held to account.” Mr. Capers extended his thanks to the TSA for their assistance and support in the investigation.
“The laws and practices in place in this country are meant to protect everyone’s security and safety, and no one is above them. Ms. Lin abused a position of trust within the system to circumvent those laws for personal gain. This case should serve as a reminder and warning to anyone trying to bypass our laws. It is unacceptable and we will hold them accountable,” stated Acting Assistant Director in Charge Ennis.
“Lin allegedly used her position at an international air carrier to smuggle packages onto planes headed to China in return for favors such as discounted liquor and electronics. These illicit actions created a potential safety issue to the planes and passengers onboard,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Melendez. “HSI will remain steadfast in its commitment to ensuring the integrity of our international airports so they are not used for criminal activities.”
The charges in the superseding indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security & Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander A. Solomon, Douglas M. Pravda, and Ian C. Richardson are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance provided by the Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
Queens, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-601 (DLI)