Los Angeles–A man has pleaded no contest to an immigration fraud scheme that bilked more than $1.5 million from Chinese nationals, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.
Nianfei Bu, aka Allen Bu, (dob 12/15/84) of West Covina entered the plea yesterday to two felony counts of grand theft and one felony count of filed false income tax return.
Bu was immediately sentenced to three years in jail and ordered to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution to immigration fraud victims and his four former employees. The defendant also will have to pay more than $75,000 to the California Franchise Tax Board.
Bu’s wife, Yjie Zhong (dob 7/9/81) pleaded no contest to one felony count of mortgage fraud and grand theft. She was ordered to pay $85,728 and sentenced to five years of formal probation and 90 days of community labor. The charges against her were unrelated to the immigration fraud.
A third co-defendant, Hourong Zhang, aka Joanna Zhang, (dob 2/21/82) of Rowland Heights is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 18 in Department 50 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
Zhang is charged with eight felony counts of grand theft as well as two felony counts each of failed false income tax return and failure to file income tax return.
From November 2015 to March 2016, Bu and Zhang are accused of promising seven Chinese nationals that they could secure visas for them if they invested in one of the five restaurants owned by Bu, Deputy District Attorney Duke Chau of the Consumer Protection Division’s Notario Fraud Unit said.
The defendants were not attorneys or registered immigration consultants and allegedly provided neither legal or immigration services to the victims as promised.
Bu also was charged with wage theft of his own employees and filing false income tax returns.