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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Monday, December 5, 2016

Chinese National Sentenced for Lead Role in Test Taking Conspiracy

PITTSBURGH - A Chinese national has been sentenced in federal court to 3 years’ probation on his conviction of conspiracy, manufacturing of fraudulent passports, and mail and wire fraud in relation to a scheme involving the fraudulent taking of college entrance exams, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.

Chief United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on Han Tong.

According to information presented to the court, Han Tong acted as a facilitator for Chinese nationals to have the SAT and TOEFL examinations taken on their behalf by himself and others. Using counterfeit passports that contained identifying information of the Chinese nationals and the impostors’ photographs, Tong and his associates earned scores on college entrance examinations which were then used to earn admission to universities within the United States. Those who had the tests taken for them were also able to obtain F-1 Visas to enter the United States as students on the basis of that fraudulent admission.

“Conspiracy and fraud schemes like the one perpetrated by Mr. Tong for monetary gain undermine the integrity of the educational system in this country. The defendant’s actions also pose a very real threat to national security,” said Marlon V. Miller, special agent in charge of HSI in Pennsylvania.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Conti stated that her sentence reflected the seriousness of the offense in that it allowed people who otherwise would not have been eligible to enter the U.S. to enter and also brought unfairness to the American education system. Tong has been turned over to Immigration authorities for processing.

Assistant United States Attorney James T. Kitchen prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Acting U.S. Attorney Song commended the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the Department of State for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Tong.

Updated December 10, 2016