Politically exposed Chinese foreign national pleads guilty to immigration fraud

By Christine Duhaime | March 9th, 2017

Shilan Zhao (趙世蘭), the ex-wife of a Chinese official and a politically exposed person, has pleaded guilty to immigration fraud related to the EB5 investor visa program in the US and will serve a term of incarceration of five years.

Zhao conspired with her husband, Jianjun Qiao (喬建軍), aka Feng Li, to immigrate to the US fraudulently and settle in Washington State. He is wanted in China for embezzling over $50 million in state funds acquired while serving as the director of a state-owned grain company, Sinograin,  in the Henan province. He is on China’s Most Wanted list.

By 2012, Zhao had moved about US$2.2 million in what the US government called “laundered funds” from China to banks in Vancouver and parked the funds there in anticipation of immigration to the US. Those banks were RBC and HSBC. Zhao also bought homes in the Vancouver area.

According to the investigation by the IRS and DHS, Qiao and Zhao transferred about US$700,000 to HSBC in Vancouver in 6 transactions in 2011; then transferred another $1.6 million to another HSBC account in Vancouver; and in 2012, they cashed out over $2 million from a Royal Bank account; and transferred a further $700,000 from RBC to buy property in the US.

Zhao applied to the US under the EB5 program using falsified documents, including fake documents ostensibly proving the source of her investment to qualify under the EB5 program to obtain a US visa. In reliance upon those fake documents, Zhao was approved to immigrate to the US.

In this article, the Chinese Foreign Minister confirms that the people of China “care greatly about bringing back fugitives and recovering their assets.” So far, 2,500 fugitives from more than 90 countries were returned to China on charges of corruption and economic crimes.  38 are on the list of 100 most wanted fugitives.

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