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Brooklyn Businessman Pleads Guilty to Failing to Pay Over Employment Taxes


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Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 27, 2019

Brooklyn Businessman Pleads Guilty to Failing to Pay Over Employment Taxes

Failed to Collect and Pay Employment Taxes for 17 Consecutive Quarters

A Brooklyn, New York, businessman pleaded guilty today to failing to collect, truthfully account for, and pay over employment taxes, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. 

According to documents and information provided to the court, Zhi Hui Zheng owned and operated Good Time Sewing Inc. and Perfect Made Apparel Inc., which did business in Brooklyn. As the owner and operator of these businesses, Zheng was responsible for collecting, truthfully accounting for and paying over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Social Security, Medicare and income taxes withheld from his employees’ wages. For seventeen consecutive quarters, beginning from the first quarter of 2012 and continuing through the first quarter of 2016, Zheng failed to collect and pay over the required employment taxes and failed to file the corresponding Forms 941 with the IRS. Zheng has admitted that he did not pay approximately $688,234 in employment taxes due to the IRS. 

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2020, before U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis. The defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison as well as a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.  

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman thanked special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Mark Kotila and Christopher O’Donnell of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case. 

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.



Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 26, 2019

Federal Grand Jury in Chicago Indicts Chinese Businesswoman on Charges of Visa Fraud

CHICAGO — A Chinese businesswoman has been indicted in Chicago on federal fraud charges for allegedly providing false verifications of employment for Chinese nationals seeking to stay in the United States on F-1 or H-1B visas.

WEIYUN HUANG, also known as “Kelly Huang,” 30, of Beijing, China, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and five counts of visa fraud, according to an indictment returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  Huang has been in federal custody since March after her arrest in the Northern District of California.  Arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shoba Pillay. 




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An F-1 visa permitted a foreign national to study in the United States at a university or other academic institution.  An F-1 visa-holder could extend the visa by participating in a program that required the student to obtain temporary employment in their area of study.  An H-1B visa permitted U.S.-based employers to temporarily employ foreign nationals in specialty occupations. Foreign nationals with an H-1B visa were permitted to stay in the U.S. for three years, with the possibility of extending their stay to six years.

According to the indictment, Huang founded two companies – FINDREAM LLC and SINOCONTECH LLC – for the purported purpose of employing foreign nationals in the United States.  Huang advertised Findream as a “startup company in technology services and consulting,” with clients in China and the U.S.  Huang used a China-based website, “Chinese Looking for Job,” and a China-based WeChat platform, “Job Hunters of North America,” to advertise Findream and Sinocontech to F-1 visa-holders in the U.S. seeking employment and H-1B visas.




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In reality, the companies did not deliver any technology or consulting services nor did they employ any of the individuals who responded to the advertisements, the indictment states.  In exchange for a fee, Huang and the companies provided written proof of employment to their customers, knowing that the companies did not actually employ them, the charges allege.  Huang, Findream and Sinocontech also provided false offer letters and verification of employment letters as purported evidence of employment, knowing the forms were bogus, the indictment states. 

The fraud scheme allowed at least approximately 2,685 customers to list Findream or Sinocontech as their employer in order to stay in the U.S. on the visas, according to the indictment.  Huang and her two companies received at least approximately $2 million from customers for whom they agreed to falsely certify employment, the indictment states.



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Findream, which was incorporated in California, and Sinocontech, which was incorporated in Delaware, are also charged in the indictment.  Findream is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and four counts of visa fraud, while Sinocontech is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and one count of visa fraud.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Each count of visa fraud is punishable by up to ten years in prison, while the conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of five years.








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4/02/2019

Chinese National Accused of Running Massive Visa Fraud Operation Through Sham Mountain View Tech Company


One of her clients was arrested and charged as a Chinese spy in 2018, according to court records obtained by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit.

By Stephen Stock, Michael Bott, and Mark Villarreal


A Bay Area woman with ties to an accused Chinese spy is at the center of a massive, nation-wide visa fraud scheme, according to court records obtained by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit.

Federal prosecutors in Illinois charged Weiyun “Kelly” Huang with conspiracy to commit visa fraud in an 18-page criminal complaint filed last week. She’s accused of exploiting the “Optional Practical Training” (OPT) program for foreign students with F-1 visas, which allows visa-holders to stay in the country for at least 12 months of additional temporary employment directly related to a student’s area of study.

Findream’s website describes the company as an IT consulting company that provides “knowledge training, web development, QA test, data analyst, business consulting, management consulting and coding platform services.”



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But federal agents say the business is a sham, just a front for Huang’s visa fraud operation. According to the complaint, even the photos of Findream’s employees were stock photos found online.

The true nature of Huang’s business, according to the complaint, is more accurately described on the Chinese website Chineselookingforjob.com, also operated by Huang.

“It appears that the entire purpose of Chineselookingforjob.com is to provide false verifications of employment for Chinese nationals who are F-1 visa holders seeking to continue their stay in the United States via the OPT program,” writes a federal law enforcement officer in the criminal complaint. “Indeed, the website characterizes OPT affiliation as ‘pretend’ employment, and specifically indicates the intent to convince the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the individual’s status is ‘legal.’”



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Chinese nationals seeking services from Chineselookingforjob.com, according to the complaint, would be told to list Findream as their employer on visa documents.

The extent of the alleged fraud is widespread. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services records, Findream ranked tenth among all U.S. companies employing Optional Practical Training students between 2003 and 2017, ahead of huge companies such as Facebook, IBM, and Apple. By comparison, the listed headquarters for Findream, LLC is inside a shared workspace building in downtown Mountain View, where a receptionist told NBC Bay Area they rarely see anyone from the company.

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement


But according to immigration records, the company claims to have employed thousands of foreign students in recent years.


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“Approximately 1,900 F-1 visa-holders have listed Findream as an employer on their OPT forms,” the complaint states.

A search of LinkedIn by NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit found hundreds of active profiles listing Findream as a current or former employer. Many list China as their home country.

Huang herself, according to the complaint, originally came to the United States from China on an F-1 Visa in 2009 to study at the University of Mississippi. In 2014, she was issued a 24-month L-2 visa to “accompany her husband during his sponsored employment in the United States.” She listed Findream as her employer on the visa application.

Federal investigators, based on a review of subpoenaed records, say Huang deposited more than $1.5 million into her bank accounts between 2013 and 2018, including nearly $1 million received via peer-to-peer payment services, such as PayPal and Venmo.

An attorney representing Huang said he could not comment on the charges when reached Tuesday morning by NBC Bay Area.

Of the 1,900 F-1 visa holders who listed Findream as their employer, one name in particular stands out: Ji Chaoqun, who was arrested last year and accused of spying on behalf of China.


Ji Chaoqun

Ji, according to federal agents, arrived in the United States from China on an F-1 visa in 2013 to study at a University in Chicago. In 2015, he submitted a form seeking authorization to stay in the country for Optional Practical Training. He listed Findream as his employer, where he claimed to work 25 hours per week. A Findream employee certified under penalty of perjury that Ji was employed by the company. According to the criminal complaint, federal agents believe Huang to be the Findream employee who signed off on Chaoqun’s documents.

A search warrant served on Huang’s email account found two documents pertaining to Ji’s alleged employment at Findream, including an employment offer letter and an “employment verification letter” dated January 9, 2017. Ji listed his employment address at a purported Findream Chicago branch, but when agents visited the address, building employees said there were no records of Findream having office space there.

The criminal complaint says Ji’s bank records show a $900 payment to Findream in 2016, which agents say “appeared to be a payment for the verifications of employment contained on JI’s OPT forms.”

In September, 2018, Chaoqun was arrested and charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government. According to court records in that case, Ji conducted background checks on a group of Chinese nationals working as engineers and scientists in the United States at the behest of Chinese intelligence officers.

Ji, according to court records, also enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves’ Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program in 2016, a specialized program for foreigners deemed “vital to the national interest” living in the United States legally. In his application, he denied any involvement with a foreign government.

The criminal complaint against Huang doesn’t say whether she was aware of Ji’s alleged activities as a foreign agent, and does not accuse her of being a Chinese agent herself. The complaint does not give the identities of the remaining 1,900 or so Chinese nationals who listed Findream as their employer for Optional Practical Training.

Huang is due in court Wednesday for a detention hearing. NBC Bay Area will continue to update the story as more information becomes available.








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