Casualties of immigration scam still piling up
Employees of unlicensed consultant contend they were pawns in his deceits
The casualties from what government officials call the largest immigration fraud in Canadian history continue to mount.
The latest people to pay a high price because of their involvement with a notorious unlicensed immigration consultant in Richmond, Xun (Sunny) Wang, are his former employees, some of whom say they were mere “pawns” who didn't realize they were working for a criminal organization.
A Federal Court judge has banned from Canada a woman from China who ran small tasks for Wang for three years, even though she says she didn't realize he was engaged in cooking up fake passports, false Canadian addresses and phoney jobs for more than 1,600 would-be permanent residents.
Hundreds of Wang's clients, and their children, have already been punished by border officials in various ways because they collaborated with the bogus operator, who was able to rake in more than $10 million in revenue on which he did not pay taxes.
One of the fraudulent consultant's 14 employees, Yan Wang (no relation), who arrived in Canada as a live-in caregiver and had been a permanent resident since 2009, said she was “no more than a pawn” in Sunny Wang's sophisticated scheming, which helped him illicitly buy 11 Metro properties.
Yan Wang's arguments did not satisfy Judge Susan Elliott, however.
The judge rejected the ex-employee's testimony that she “did not know her actions were illegal, or that (Sunny's business) was a criminal organization, and that she simply did what Sunny instructed her to do because he had told her he was a lawyer and she trusted him.”
Based on the employee's emails to Sunny Wang, the judge ruled last month that Yan Wang should have reasoned she was taking part in criminal activity — including when she helped one would-be business-class immigrant fool officials into thinking he owned a retail outlet in a Canadian shopping mall.
B.C. provincial court Judge Reg Harris concluded in 2015 that Sunny Wang was the “mastermind” of an elaborate scheme to trick immigration and border officials and Canada's taxation agency.
He received a seven-year jail term and a fine of more than $900,000, but was released after serving about 2½ years in prison.
The Canada Border Services Agency is still investigating Wang's manipulations, which mostly focused on helping clients pretend they were living in Canada — to meet permanent residency requirements and buy property — when they were residing most of the time in China.
On Tuesday, the CBSA released its latest review of Wang's 1,677 former clients:
609 clients who were permanent residents have been reported for inadmissibility to Canada.
221 who obtained Canadian citizenship could be stripped of their status.
252 others have “lost their status through other process,” including voluntarily giving up their permanent residency or citizenship.
Canada's Immigration Department was not able to say how many of Wang's clients have had their citizenship revoked or have been removed from the country.
Although the CBSA does disclose information about individuals because of privacy concerns, court documents reveal one of Wang's clients was Xian Qing Li, a permanent resident who owned a $7-million mansion in West Vancouver.
She and her two children lost the right to stay in Canada because she lied to border officials about how much time she had been spending in the country. A Federal Court judge refused to let her family stay on “compassionate and humanitarian” grounds in part because her husband did not intend to become a Canadian citizen and earned up to $800,000 a year in China.
A 2017 parole report said Wang initially refused to pay his $900,000 fine. Under pressure, however, he promised to mortgage two of his dwellings in Richmond to do so.
He didn't. In 2019, the province went to court to cover the unpaid taxes by seizing the two Richmond properties, which had been transferred to Wang's wife, Jin Li.
In documents that remain attached to the properties' land titles, the director of forfeiture says the two dwellings were used to perpetrate some of Wang's frauds and that Wang remained their beneficial owner.
The two dwellings — a four-bedroom house at 10540 No. 4 Road and a two-bedroom apartment at 1107-6068 No. 3 Rd. — contained some of the 172 mostly Chinese passports and fake border-crossing stamps found in Wang's possession.
They were also home to some of Wang's 18 computers.
The dwellings were also used as fake addresses for clients, who said they were their own homes, attempting to trick authorities into believing they had spent two years out of the past five in Canada, the minimum required to remain a permanent resident.
In 2020, B.C.'s Office of Civil Forfeiture also went after nine more Metro Vancouver properties it concluded are the proceeds of Wang's criminal activity:
■ 116-2501 161A St., Surrey;
■ 107-16222 23A Ave., Surrey;
■ 18181 66A Ave., Surrey;
■ 13942 25A Ave., Surrey;
■ 4-2427 164 St., Surrey;
■ 9777 Ashwood Dr., Richmond;
■ 2010 and 2008 Rosser Ave., Burnaby;
■ 10747 Brooks Place, Delta On Tuesday the office said it would not comment on the proceedings because they remain before the court. Wang's last known address is the house on No. 4 Road in Richmond.
A 2016 report by Canada's auditor general determined the federal government has not been adequately pursuing or detecting citizenship fraud.