2 Los Angeles-area men indicted in visa fraud scheme that used surrogate test-takers and ‘guaranteed’ foreign student admission into colleges
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
LOS ANGELES — The second defendant named in a federal grand jury indictment surrendered today to face charges stemming from a scheme that used bogus transcripts, ghostwritten admissions essays and imposters who took standardized tests to help foreigners gain admission to colleges, allowing them to fraudulently obtain student visas to enter or remain in the United States.
Yi Chen, aka “Brian Chen,” 33, of Monrovia, pleaded not guilty this afternoon to charges in a 21-count grand jury indictment that alleges conspiracy, visa fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Chen’s co-defendant – Yixin Li, aka “Eason Li” and “Calvin Wong,” 28, of San Gabriel – surrendered on March 2 and pleaded not guilty at an arraignment that afternoon.
The case against Chen and Li, as well as an earlier case targeting the test-takers, was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles and the Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service. Substantial assistance was provided by the HSI Beijing attaché, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Fraud Detection and National Security Section and the Educational Testing Service, which administers the TOEFL exam.