Owners Of South Bay Businesses Sentenced To Prison For Investment Fraud Conspiracy And Related Crimes | USAO-NDCA

SAN JOSE –Jennifer Yang was sentenced to 46 months in prison for her role—and Daniel Wu, her business partner, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for his role—in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud and visa fraud along with a number of related crimes, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson; U.S. State Department, Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), San Francisco Field Office Special Agent in Charge Matthew Perlman; and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Tatum King.  The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Lucy H. Koh, U.S. District Judge, following a trial in which the defendants were found guilty of crimes related to a scheme to defraud foreign investors in connection with the United States’ “EB-5” immigrant visa program.  The EB-5 program allows individuals to apply for permanent residence in the United States if they invest a substantial sum of money in a new commercial enterprise, enabling that business to create at least ten jobs in this country.

After the four-week trial in this case, the jury found that Yang, 52, of Palo Alto, and Wu, 56, of Las Vegas, submitted to the government fraudulent visa applications that claimed they had used investor money to create the required number of jobs when, in fact, the defendants had misused investor money and failed to create the jobs that they claimed.

“The EB-5 program is intended to create jobs and spur investment.  The investors in this program should not suffer fraud,” U.S. Attorney Anderson stated.  “Yang and Wu broke their promises to investors and lied to the government.  They will now spend time in prison to pay for their crimes.”

“The Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) is pleased with this successful prosecution. These hard-fought convictions send a clear message that criminals who attempt to exploit the U.S. visa process for illegal profit will be punished,” said Special Agent in Charge Perlman.  “DSS, alongside our federal partners, is committed to rooting-out and prosecuting criminal enterprises involving U.S. travel documents.” 

“Fraudulent schemes like these threaten our National Security and public safety,” said Special Agent in Charge King. “They also have substantial impacts on the victims of these callous crimes.  HSI special agents work diligently to not only protect National Security interests, but also the victims of fraud.”

Evidence at trial showed that Yang, a lawyer and licensed member of Bar of the District of Columbia, held herself out as a legal specialist for persons interested in applying for EB-5 visa benefits.  Yang and Wu solicited six- and seven-figure investments from foreign individuals interested in lawful permanent residency in the United States, promising those individuals that their investments would be used to create jobs and qualify them for EB-5 visas.  Nevertheless, instead of using the investors’ money to create jobs as promised, the evidence at trial showed that the defendants diverted the money for other purposes including personal expenditures such as the purchase of cars, stays in luxury hotels, college tuition for a family member, and the cash purchase of a $2.5 million house for Yang and her family.  When it came time to submit visa applications on behalf of the investor victims, Yang and Wu falsely represented that the money had been used properly and the jobs had been created.  In some cases, the false information about bogus job positions was created using the personal identifying information of third parties without those individuals’ knowledge or consent.  Between 2007 and 2016, the defendants filed fraudulent EB-5 visa petitions for at least seven foreign investors who supplied Yang and Wu with approximately six million dollars intended for use as EB-5 investments.

A federal grand jury indicted Yang and Wu on October 19, 2017, charging both with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit visa fraud, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; three counts of visa fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1546(a); two counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341; and two counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A.  In addition, Yang was charged with two counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957. The jury convicted Yang and Wu of mail fraud, visa fraud, and conspiracy to commit these and other offenses. 

In addition to the prison terms, Judge Koh ordered the defendants to pay $5,951,813.00 in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release following their prison terms.  

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Delahunty and John Bostic are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Lakisha Holliman, Mimi Lam, Susan Kreider, and Tong Zhang.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the United States Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fraud Detection and National Security Office.
 

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