Chinese National Sentenced to Forty-One Months for Scheme to Aid Undocumented Aliens in Obtaining Drivers’ Licenses
ALBUQUERQUE – Hai Gan, 57, a legal, permanent resident from China who resides in The Colony, Texas, was sentenced yesterday afternoon in federal court in Las Cruces, NM, for his conviction on fraud, immigration and witness-tampering charges. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Acting Special Agent in Charge Tom Hernandez of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, and Acting Chief Patrol Agent Benjamin C. Huffman, El Paso Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Hai Gan was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison; he will be deported after he completes his prison sentence. Hai Gan was also ordered to forfeit to the United States his interests in four houses used by Gan to facilitate his criminal activity and approximately $27,000.00, which represent part of his criminal proceeds.
Hai Gan was arrested on May 11, 2011, at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 25 north of Doña Ana County, N.M., when Border Patrol Agents learned that he was transporting an illegal alien. Hai Gan subsequently was indicted and charged with 51 counts of fraud in connection with identification documents, eight counts of transporting illegal aliens, three counts of money laundering and two counts of witness-tampering. The indictment also sought forfeiture of four residences owned by Hai Gan, including two in Albuquerque, N.M., and one in Moriarty, N.M.
On Feb. 11, 2014, Hai Gan was convicted on all 64 counts of the indictment by a federal jury after a six-day trial. The evidence at trial established that from Aug. 2009 to May 2011, Hai Gan engaged in a scheme to aid undocumented aliens who were not New Mexico residents in obtaining New Mexico drivers’ licenses by assisting the aliens in fabricating fraudulent documents purportedly establishing New Mexico residency; arranging for the aliens to travel to New Mexico; and assisting the aliens in securing New Mexico drivers’ licenses by fraudulently attesting that they were New Mexico residents. The evidence also established that Hai Gan advertised his services in Chinese–language newspapers, and charged each alien upwards of $3000 for his services. Hai Gan would first work with the alien to develop false residency documents using one of the residences he owned in New Mexico as the alien’s address. After sufficient fraudulent residency documentation was developed, Hai Gan typically would meet the alien at the Albuquerque airport and assist the alien in obtaining a temporary New Mexico driver’s license. When the alien’s permanent driver’s license was delivered to the address identified as the alien’s residence, Hai Gun would then mail the driver’s license to the alien’s true home.
The evidence also established that Hai Gan transported undocumented aliens in Bernalillo and Torrance Counties on eight occasions between Dec. 2009 and May 2011. An undocumented alien testified that in Nov. or Dec. 2012, Hai Gan attempted to dissuade him from testifying against him by suggesting that he would be arrested if he did not relocate. The wife of another alien testified that Hai Gan called her and requested that her husband relocate or deny knowledge of Hai Gan’s criminal activities.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security-Office of Inspector General, and HSI El Paso’s Financial Operations and Currency Unified Strike Force (FOCUS), which includes DEA, Texas Department of Public Safety, IRS Criminal Investigation and U.S. Secret Service, and the Tax Fraud Investigations Division of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy M. Castellano and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Pleters of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.