At first it looked like just another ho-hum EB-5 (immigrant investor) fraud case, a bit of news that we see all too often.
I checked off the similarities: locale, California, check; those indicted, a couple with Chinese names, check; amount involved, about $4 million, check; alien victims, not stated but probably from China, check.
But this case, USA v. Yang et al, has some non-traditional elements, for example.
- Some of the phony investments were placed in phony law firms, not real estate;
- The couple, once married, did not live together but they did continue to conspire together;
- She, Jennifer Yang, seems from the indictment to have been the dominant member; she is represented by a private attorney; he, Daniel Wu, aka, et al., by a federal defender; and
- The case was brought, not by the usual cop on the beat, the Securities and Exchange Commission, but by the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of California.
Why someone who has been involved in a multi-million dollar fraud qualifies for a free federal defender is beyond me, but being a criminal often does not equate with being a smart criminal.
The law firms were 81 Law, and 1-855 Lawyers, Inc., both said to be in Palo Alto, Calif. There were also two other paper firms, 81 Doc, Inc., and 81Doc.com, both in Las Vegas. Now, 1-855 is one of those 1-800 numbers; perhaps there is something in Chinese numerology that explains the use of 81.
And perhaps some congressional committee will have a hearing someday to explore why this program is so subject to so much multi-million dollar corruption.
The courts' electronic filing system, PACER, lists the case as 5:16-cr-00334-LHK.