A naturalized U.S. citizen of Chinese origin has pleaded guilty to charges of migrant smuggling conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, the Justice Department announced.
Haiyan Liao, 46, along with unnamed co-conspirators submitted visitor visa applications containing untrue statements to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou in southern China.
Liao, a resident of Las Vegas, then helped Chinese nationals whose visa applications were approved travel to America, accompanying them herself on commercial flights to New York, the Justice Department said.
These Chinese nationals and their families, four of whom were unaccompanied minors, paid Liao thousands for the trouble. Liao reaped at least $98,673.72 in wire transfers from China.
Liao now faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy to unlawfully bring in aliens to the U.S. for financial gain, and up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering at her sentencing, which is scheduled for Dec. 8.
“Liao was paid thousands of dollars to help lie to the federal government to bring individuals, including unaccompanied minors, into the United States for her own selfish gain. This office stands committed to upholding the rule of law and protecting the integrity of our immigration process,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in a statement.
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