The Justice Department was arrested on July 18 for two New York residents for stealing $ 27 million from investors. This is partly due to the promise of access to prominent politicians such as former President Donald Trump.
Since May 2013, Sherry Shwe Lee and Liambo Wan, also known as Mike One, have been inviting investors to fictitious projects to develop Lee’s private educational institution for almost 10 years. We have perpetuated our plans. According to a complaint opened on Monday, the president.
According to Filing, the institution, called the Thompson Education Center or the TEC Project in Sullivan County, New York, has put Li et al. At the forefront of sucking money from more than 150 victim investors.
Through the TEC project, 50-year-old Li and 45-year-old Wang, along with collaborators, raised $ 16.5 million from investors who were promised a green card in exchange for a $ 500,000 investment through the EB-5 investment visa program. .. , And $ 11 million from equity investors on the project’s IPO are now steadily done.
According to Filing, Lee and his colleagues used at least $ 2 million of these funds for laundry and spent at least $ 2.5 million on “various personal expenses without a clear business purpose.”
Personal expenses include clothing, accessories, jewelry, housing, vacation trips, fine dining, and political contributions to prominent US officials.
Lee and Wang have been charged with wire fraud plots, money laundering plots, and US fraud plots by interfering with the federal administration of election funding laws. Both are naturalized American citizens originally from China.
US Attorney Breon Peace noted the seriousness of the crime and the “significant flight risk” of “overwhelming evidence of their guilt” and requested that the two be detained without bail. They also have “important and long-standing relationships” with China, and in the case of the King, the United Arab Emirates, and if they escape, neither country has an extradition treaty with the United States, he said. Stated.
Selling access to the former president
The prosecution claims that Lee and Wang used the money they received to fund politicians, access political events, and take pictures with elected civil servants. Such photographs have become a bait to attract more investment in TEC projects.
The pair and 12 foreign guests attended the fundraising event on June 28, 2017 and took pictures with the then president. Foreign guests (11 Chinese and 1 Singaporean) were each charged $ 93,000 in admission. According to the Justice Department, the pair used the money to illegally donate $ 600,000 to the hosting committee.
According to court documents, a photo of Lee laughing alongside Trump and the then First Lady Melania Trump was later published in TEC’s marketing pamphlet. The king told the Chinese people in 2018 that he could pay $ 220,000 if he wanted to meet the president and members of parliament.
In 2019, Wang sent a photo of the Chinese people and Trump to a group chat in a fundraiser in August 2019, telling them that they had arranged “everything” for the meeting. One of the chats invested more than $ 200,000 in a TEC project about two weeks later.
“Disneyland in China”
Around 2011, Lee and Wang announced plans to build a Chinese cultural theme park named China City of America (CCOA), according to court documents. Li promotes the project as “Disneyland in China” with amusement parks, mansions, business centers, medical facilities, universities and housing, attracting 1.5 million visitors annually and creating 3,000 jobs. There is likely to be.
The proposal was abandoned after skepticism from local officials and residents, Filing said. Instead, Lee began to promote the vision of the TEC project, a for-profit university.
According to Filing, Lee and Wang continued to assure investors that the project was on track for development, despite the lack of approval to start construction from the town of Thompson.
When asked for updates in 2019, Li sent photos and videos allegedly showing the construction of the project, but in reality it was a video of a detached house that Li was building in the nearby town of Fallsberg. did.
As of March 2022, neither the Fallsberg residence nor Thompson’s real estate had completed the structure, prosecutors said.
Fake green card promise
None of the EB-5 investors have ever received a temporary or permanent green card, the complaint said. The U.S. Citizens’ Immigration Service (USCIS), which oversees the EB-5 project, may reject the green card request since March 2017, “because USCIS did not determine that TEC’s business plan was credible.” Was issued to the investors of the TEC project. said.
According to prosecutors, the TEC project has two college dorm buildings, two college student activity centers, a sports center, a community center, and 132 townhouse-style homes, 200 two-bedroom apartments, and 50. I promised to build a dormitory. 3 bedroom apartment.
According to the filing, USCIS questioned whether such a plan would be feasible in Sullivan County, a “regional county with no infrastructure available for high-density projects.”
“The lack of plans in rural counties to meet the basic infrastructure needs of projects of this size provides little or no credibility in both business planning and job creation estimates,” USCIS said. Is writing in the notice.
At least 26 investors in the TEC project received such notifications, 16 of which ultimately led to the refusal of the green card application.
Nonetheless, Li and Wang continued to raise funds and repeatedly guaranteed investors that their investment would guarantee a green card and told some of them that they could get a green card within nine months. ..
The king expressed concern about their plans and wrote in a text message in July 2016: “US immigration law does not allow guarantee agreements … this is illegal,” Filing said.
“Ten million dollars came in from investors and strodeners. They expected their money to bear fruit, but they realized one promise: political power. It was only access, “said Michael Driscoll, FBI’s assistant director, in a statement. “Foreign currency pollutes our immigration and democratic processes, and we must do everything we can to protect them.”
The Epoch Times contacted Lee and Wang’s lawyers, Nora Hirosawa and James Ross, about the charges.