Chinese immigrant who bought Eastside home with laundered money pleads guilty to EB-5 visa fraud
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An immigrant from China who had been living in King County has pleaded guilty to visa fraud charges after federal authorities charged her with using stolen money from overseas to purchase a house on the Eastside.
Shilan Zhao, 53, submitted false documents to federal immigration authorities and will forfeit her $900,000 house in Newcastle and give up properties worth tens of millions of dollars in California and New York, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said. She also will spend up to five years in federal prison.
The federal government allows people living overseas to obtain green cards for themselves and their families if they invest at least $500,000 in job-creating ventures in the United States under the EB-5 program. Zhao and a man she said was her husband came to the United States in 2009 with a conditional green card obtained through the program after claiming she was getting investment money from two Chinese flour companies she said she partly owned.