EB-5 Visa Program Risks to US Security – Rare Alert Issued by Immigration OIG Stayed Hidden In The Closet

An FBI agent enters the lobby of the California Investment Immigration Fund looking for evidence of visa fraud involving wealthy Chinese investors. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

 

LA Times
By Joel Rubin and Cindy Chang Reporters
April 6, 2017

After years of sleuthing, federal agents Wednesday raided San Gabriel Valley homes and an office that investigators have linked to an alleged multimillion-dollar immigration and finance scam that allowed wealthy Chinese investors to obtain U.S. residency.

The suspects in the case are accused of collecting $50 million from scores of Chinese nationals, who were granted permission to live in the United States in exchange for investing the money in development projects that authorities say never occurred.

The money, investigators claim in court records, fueled a luxurious life of multimillion-dollar homes and high-priced cars for the alleged masterminds of the scheme — Victoria Chan, an attorney; Tat Chan, her father; and Fang Zeng, the father’s friend.

The raids come as money has poured into the San Gabriel Valley in recent years from China, causing home values to soar and fueling a boom in upscale development catering to wealthy visitors from the mainland.

Investigators said Wednesday’s searches targeted a scheme that exploited a little-known type of immigration visa reserved for high-end investors that has been beset by poor oversight and claims of fraud.

Each year, the government issues thousands of temporary residence visas through its Immigrant Investor Program. To qualify for the visas, immigrants must typically invest at least $1 million into a U.S. business venture, but the amount required is cut by half if an investment project is located in an area of high unemployment and is designed to create full-time jobs. If a project ultimately meets the visa program’s requirements, the investors are granted permanent legal residence in the U.S.

No one has been arrested or charged in the investigation. The Chans and Zeng could not be reached for comment.

One outstanding question is which of the Chinese investors were either complicit or victims in the alleged fraud, authorities said. Several people who contributed money have raised investigators’ suspicions.

Interest in obtaining EB-5 visas, as they are known, has taken off in recent years, in large part because of demand from wealthy Chinese citizens. After issuing only 350 of the visas in 2005, the government granted 9,500 of them in 2015, and 85% of those went to Chinese people, the affidavit said.

A 2013 report by the watchdog arm of the Department of Homeland Security found serious problems with the oversight of the EB-5 program. Immigration officials, the report found, had failed to effectively manage the part of the program that the Chans and Feng were allegedly exploiting.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is “limited in its ability to prevent fraud or national security threats that could harm the U.S., and it cannot demonstrate that the EB-5 program is improving the U.S. economy and creating jobs for U.S. citizens as intended by Congress,” the Office of Inspector General report concluded.

As part of the investigation, agents found 72 bank accounts linked to the investment fund or one of many holding companies affiliated with it. From 2009 to 2016, approximately $50 million was wired or deposited into the accounts, the affidavit said. Most of the money originated from accounts in mainland China or Hong Kong.

In June, investigators sent an undercover informant into the office to meet with Victoria Chan. Posing as a representative of an interested investor and wearing a concealed recorder, the informant was charged $200 before he was allowed to see Chan, who told him a $500,000 investment would be returned within five years, the affidavit said.

Read the entire article HERE.

–##–

It is important to note here that on January 23, 2017 after numerous prior attempts to alert the Obama Administration to Visa Problems in their audits, the OIG issued a rare and urgent alert  that I have not seen congress address yet nor did ALL (except US News) that are considered MSM ever release one article about. Equally odd is that even many of those considered off mainstream watchdogs appear to have missed this information. The question at this point was if no one reported this–was it because the news was deliberately suppressed or did the antics of the day like Democrat tantrums and demonstrator chaos simply cause it to become lost in the ether?

“DHS OIG Urgently Recommends USCIS Halt Plans to Use the Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) for Naturalization Application Processing.”

Today, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) recommended that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stop plans to reinstate use of the Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) to process naturalization benefits for immigrants. The urgent recommendation stems from an ongoing review which discovered alarming security concerns regarding inadequate background checks and other functionality problems with ELIS. Rather than waiting several months to issue a report when the ongoing audit is completed, the OIG is taking the extraordinary step of elevating this urgent issue to USCIS leadership early so that immediate corrective action can be taken.

In August 2016, USCIS decided to discontinue the use of ELIS to process naturalization applications due to these problems. However, during its current review, the OIG learned of an impending decision by USCIS to return to ELIS processing in late January 2017. (Was this a deliberate effort to place a ticking time bomb in the new administration? Obviously any oversight would have been lacking as the new administration stepped in on shaky and Senate-stalled footing and those involved could slip people through.)

The DHS OIG’s current ELIS review began in December 2016 as a result of USCIS’ slow progress to address ELIS’ functional and technical issues identified in previous OIG audits issued in March and November 2016. The March 2016 audit, USCIS Automation of Immigration Benefits Processing Remains Ineffective, OIG-16-48, identified numerous deficiencies in system capabilities and problems with interfaces that negatively affected productivity. The November 2016 audit, Better Safeguards Are Needed in USCIS Green Card Issuance, OIG-17-11, indicated that nearly 20,000 Green Cards had been issued in error, primarily due to ELIS technical and functional deficiencies.

“Due to the significant unresolved functional and technical issues surrounding ELIS—issues my office has reported on in numerous reports in the past—we strongly advise USCIS leadership against the premature return to electronic processing of naturalization applications until corrective actions are taken and these persistent issues are resolved,” said Inspector General John Roth.

–00–

Time after time recently we as citizens of this country are finding out just how corrupted and corrupt the Obama administration was.  We knew “sort of” over the years as private citizens have been slammed, laws circumvented, and efforts stonewalled; but now, we are seeing there is proof from NSA spying on everything and everyone to the “ticking time bombs” Obama and his zombies left behind.

Will these investigations and allegations of wrongdoing ever see the light of day in a courtroom against those that held the top-level management positions, especially Obama as the Head Corrupter? The list of those in need of prison terms grows ever longer…GITMO seems a decent prison for those who have done all they could to bankrupt, dishonor, control, and destroy our homeland. Maybe even Alcatraz should be brought back into use. Although a firing squad seems the least costly and most permanent solution.

–Uriel–

About Uriel

Retired educator and constitutionalist
Tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to EB-5 Visa Program Risks to US Security – Rare Alert Issued by Immigration OIG Stayed Hidden In The Closet

  1. The pile of s**t grows ever deeper, is anybody ever going to be prosecuted?

  2. SafeSpace says:

    Another case of “screw the law, I want the money”.

Don't be bashful leave a comment and let us know what you think - Please note our Comment Policy (Please keep all comments on topic and relevant to the discussion. Thank You. )