Northern California Man Pleads Not Guilty to Visa Fraud Charges, Out on Bail
Jianyun “Tony” Ye, the co-owner and business partner of Danhong Jean D. Chen, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 14 charges including obstruction of justice, aggravated identity theft, and 10 counts of visa fraud.
Chen was the sole partner at the Law Offices of Jean D. Chen while Ye was the officer manager. The two were also husband and wife when the visa fraud scheme took place. Chen’s law firm represented over 100 foreign investors who had delivered approximately $52 million into projects under the U.S. EB-5 Visa Program.
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program
The EB-5 Visa Program was created by the Immigration Act of 1990 and allows eligible immigrant investors to become lawful permanent residents, also known as “green card” holders. To be eligible, the investor must invest $1 million in an American business that employs at least 10 American employees. However, if the investment is made in a targeted employment area where there is a high unemployment rate, then only a $500,000 investment is required.
What Are the Charges?
According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Chen and Ye mislead investors by convincing them to invest money in a company called the Golden State Regional Center LLC, which was secretly owned by Chen and Ye.
Using a “straw owner,” Chen and Ye transferred ownership of the center to an individual who had no knowledge of this transaction. Chen and Ye falsified documents and provided false signatures of the straw owner.
The SEC report further alleges that Jean D. Chen and Jianyun Ye mislead investors as to how their investments were being allocated, misrepresented their involvement with the regional center, and falsified documents to mask the true ownership of the center.
As part of their visa-fraud scheme, Chen and Ye pocketed $10 million dollars.
Where Are They Now?
Chen fled the country shortly after the SEC filed charges and remains at large. While Ye recently plead not guilty to all charges and was released on $750,000 bail bond.
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