Chinese woman charged with immigration fraud remains in US jail

Updated: 2015-04-01 06:08

By LINDA DENG(China Daily)

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A search of property and title records conducted by the Sun show that Zhao's company bought the properties outright.

However, a few months later, it took out mortgages on both, totaling $1.1 million, that represented almost their entire market value. A few weeks later Zhao and Qiao took money from their Canadian RBC account to pay for a Bellevue home.

Officials allege that Qiao embezzled the money from a Chinese grain warehouse, China Grain Reserves Corp, also known as Sinograin, which he directed in Henan province.

When the divorced couple applied for the investor visas, they claimed they were married and declared that the $500,000 they invested through EB-5 was obtained lawfully, officials said.

When she applied for her EB-5 visa, Zhao listed Qiao as her husband. She also said her investment funds were cash advances from two Chinese flour companies that she partly owned. Later, Qiao filed paperwork with the US immigration agency in which he said he was married to Zhao.

In 2009, the two received visas as a couple, and they came to the US that October. In mid-2011, Zhao applied to have her green card made permanent.

By early 2012, the pair had about $2.2 million in laundered funds deposited in a Canadian bank account, according to officials. Using a portion of those funds, that August they bought a four-bedroom house in Newcastle for $525,000 under the name S&O Investments LLC.

Assistant US Attorney Ronald Cheng in Los Angeles said the federal government could ask a court to allow the Newcastle house to be seized to help pay the Chinese government for its losses.

In March, Chinese prosecutors gave the US State Department a "priority list" of 150 people it wanted help in finding and in repatriating moneys they allegedly embezzled. It is not known if Qiao and Zhao are on that list, the Sun said.

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