Ex-wife of former Chinese official pleads guilty to fraud
Zhao Shilan, the ex-wife of a former Chinese official, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit immigration fraud related to EB-5 investor visas.
Zhao, 53, pleaded guilty on Jan 9 to one count of conspiring with her ex-husband, Qiao Jianjun, to fraudulently obtain visas to enter the United States. She was arrested in March 2015 in Newcastle, Washington.
Qiao, 53, also known as Feng Li, is accused of embezzling funds while serving as director of a grain company in China’s Henan province. He remains a fugitive who is being sought by federal authorities, according to the US attorney office in Los Angeles.
Qiao also is on a priority list of 150 people that Chinese prosecutors gave to the US State Department. China wanted help in finding and repatriating money they allegedly embezzled, as well as the suspects.
As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Zhao agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov 6. Zhao will face a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison.
According to the plea agreement signed by Zhao on Dec 21, Zhao submitted false supporting materials to US federal authorities in May 2008, including a false marriage certificate and false papers documenting the source of her investment, which was required under the EB-5 immigrant investor program to obtain US immigrant visas.
Qiao prepared or obtained the documents and Zhao knew at least some of the documents were false, according to the plea agreement.
According to the indictment, Zhao and Qiao were divorced but pretended to remain married and lied about the source
Zhao Shilan in a 2015 file photo.