Federal Jury Finds Legal Permanent Resident From China Guilty on Fraud, Immigration and Witness Tampering Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – A federal jury sitting in Las Cruces, N.M., returned a verdict earlier today finding Hai Gan guilty on fraud, immigration and witness-tampering charges after a six-day trial. The verdict was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge Dennis A. Ulrich, II, of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas Ulrich, and Chief Patrol Agent Scott A. Luck, El Paso Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Hai Gan, 56, a legal permanent resident from China who resides in The Colony, Texas, 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 three residences owned by Hai Gan, two in Albuquerque and another in Moriarty, as well as Hai Gan’s residence in The Colony as assets used in or derived from Gan’s illegal activities.
Hai Gan’s trial began on Feb. 3, 2014 and concluded this afternoon when the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts.
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 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.
The jury deliberated approximately three hours before returning its guilty verdict.
Hai Gan was remanded into custody after the jury returned its verdict and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Hai Gan faces the following maximum penalties: 15 years in prison on each of the 51 counts of document fraud; ten years in prison on each of the eight alien transportation counts; ten years in prison on each of the three money laundering counts; and 20 years in prison on each of the witness-tampering charges. The court will render a verdict on the issue of forfeiture at sentencing.
This case was investigated 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. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy M. Castellano and Michael S. Pleters.