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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 26, 2021

Arizona Man Charged For Immigration Scheme Targeting Chinese Nationals

Defendant Allegedly Promised Clients U.S. Citizenship in Exchange for Money

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – An Arizona resident made his initial appearance in federal court today for allegedly fraudulently obtaining more than one million dollars from clients by falsely promising them U.S. citizenship, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich of the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI.

“The defendant is accused of orchestrating a scheme that deceived individuals on the false promise of U.S. citizenship,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “Citizenship cannot be bought. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will hold accountable individuals who manipulate and defraud others for their personal financial gain.”

Douglas Lee Thayer, 68, of Mohave Valley, Arizona is charged with one count of wire fraud and six counts of mail fraud. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach scheduled a jury trial for April 19, 2021.

According to allegations in the indictment, Thayer operated U.S. Adult Adoption Services Inc. (USAAS) in 2015-2016, a business that promised its clients U.S. citizenship in exchange for money. Thayer fraudulently represented to clients, who were mostly Chinese nationals, that they would be adopted (as adults) by United State citizens. This would supposedly allow the clients to obtain new birth certificates and, subsequently, obtain United States citizenship for themselves. Thayer charged each client an upfront payment between $5,000 and $20,000 for USAAS’s services. Thayer allegedly received more than $1,018,337.83 in total payments from clients.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

If convicted, the maximum statutory penalties per count of conviction are 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Simon F. Kung is prosecuting the case.

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Topic(s): 
Immigration
Component(s): 
Updated February 26, 2021