Headline Archives

   

UNDER THE COVER OF ROMANCE:
BREAKING THE HEART OF CHINESE IMMIGRATION FRAUD

07/29/03

Graphic for Chinese Immigration Fraud On July 25, brothers David and Michael Cheng were found guilty of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud through a scheme that smuggled citizens of the People's Republic of China into the United States on the ruse that they were the fiancés of American citizens. Both brothers face a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine of $250,000.

The Cheng brothers thought they had the perfect plan. They would recruit young Chinese-Americans, offer them a payment of $10,000, then fly them to China to meet their "fiancé" and take romantic photographs of their "engagement party." Fake letters of undying love would be exchanged. Then, all of these would be forwarded to the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement with a petition for a visa that would allow the "happy couple" to be united in marriage in America. Not one wedding ever took place. In fact, twelve young recruits testified at the trial that while they had been happy to accept the $10,000 payment, they never had any intention of marrying their supposed "fiancés." The Cheng brothers, meanwhile, were receiving $40,000 from families in the People's Republic for the privilege of this convenient entry into the United States.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Metropolitan Police Department, and prosecuted by the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Office.