San Gabriel attorney admits to multimillion-dollar immigration fraud scheme

A San Gabriel-based attorney pleaded guilty Monday to an immigration fraud scheme that generated more than $50 million in profits by selling temporary green cards to foreign investors.

Victoria Chan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit visa fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and international money laundering.

U.S.District Judge Cormac Carney is scheduled to sentence her July 9. Chan's plea deal calls for a sentence of 27 to 33 months in federal prison.

Chan, 35, of El Monte ran San Gabriel-based California Investment Immigration Fund with her father. The company used a visa program that issued permanent lawful residence permits — known as green cards — to foreign nationals who invested at least $500,000 in a U.S.-based business that generates at least 10 new jobs to run the fraudulent scheme, according to the plea agreement.

Chan submitted about 130 phony visa applications. Some applicants were on China's 100 most wanted list for bribery and abuse of power, according to federal prosecutors.

In some cases, the applicants received a $500,000 refund, prosecutors said. Chan pocketed some of the money to buy homes worth nearly $1 million in Diamond Bar and Rancho Cucamonga, according to prosecutors.

Chan has agreed to give up eight properties worth nearly $25 million linked to the scheme, prosecutors said. A ninth property in Rancho Cucamonga is expected to be forfeited soon, according to prosecutors.

The scheme started in Garden Grove and shifted later to San Gabriel, prosecutors said. No one was able to get a permanent green card because authorities shut down the operation before that happened, prosecutors said.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
65°