Press Statement
San Francisco, CA
March 13, 2009

Joseph P. Russoniello, United States Attorney
Northern District of California

Yan Ru Chu was sentenced yesterday to 24 months imprisonment, and three years probation, announced United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello and Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent In-Charge Patrick Durkin.

Chu pleaded guilty on December 18, 2008, to one count of entry visa fraud, one count of alien smuggling, and one count of failing to appear for court, before the Honorable Jeffrey S. White. She was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 13, 2005.

According to court documents and proceedings, Chu admitted that in 2000, she formed a fraudulent company called American Environmental and Water Pollution Control Incorporated. She further admitted that she sold invitation or sponsor letters on this company’s letterhead to citizens of China, who then used the invitation or sponsor letters to apply for entry visas at American Consulates in China. The invitation or sponsor letters falsely stated that the Chinese citizens had legitimate business with Chu’s company. However, there was no real company and there was no real business. The Chinese citizens used Chu’s invitation or sponsor letters for the sole purpose of falsely obtaining entry visas to unlawfully enter and remain in the United States. Chu admitted and pleaded guilty that she carried out the above visa fraud for 15 Chinese citizens.

Court documents and proceedings also show that after being arrested by DSS Special Agents for the above visa fraud in 2004, and being released on bond, Chu failed to attend her next court date in San Francisco. Chu fled the United States and remained a fugitive. On March 26, 2008, Chu was captured when she arrived on a commercial airline flight from China to Seattle, Washington. Chu admitted and pleaded guilty that she failed to appear for her San Francisco court date in 2004.

"Since the tragic events of 9/11, and in an attempt to reestablish the integrity of our borders and protect Americans from further attack, the federal government has, among other actions taken, significantly enhanced its passport and visa fraud detection capabilities,” Russoniello said. “The Chu case is but the latest example of how effective and sophisticated the DSS effort has become in identifying fraud and bringing offenders to justice. I commend them for their success in this case which should be a warning to anyone who thinks there may be profit in this kind of scam. Think twice before trying it. You will be caught. You will be punished.”

"This visa fraud investigation is an example of what the Diplomatic Security Service does best. We dismantle criminal enterprises that broker in false visas, false passports, and false travel documents to keep imposters and criminals out of the country," Durkin stated.

Lara Kroop was the Special Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted the case. She was assisted by Legal Assistant Elizabeth Garcia. The sentence was the result of a five year investigation by the Diplomatic Security Service. Anyone involved in or aware of false visa or passport schemes occurring inside the United States or at any American Embassy or Consulate is encouraged to contact DSS at (415) 705-1176.

Jack Gillund
U.S. Attorney's Office