Two allegedly overstaying Chinese tourists who were recently arrested after presenting CNMI driver’s licenses that they had obtained through fraud have separately pleaded guilty in federal court.
Guangjiang Deng pleaded guilty last Monday to participating in a conspiracy to illegally produce an identification document, while Huanqi Wu pleaded guilty last Friday to the same offense.
The two were allowed to remain free while awaiting to be sentenced. Deng will be sentenced on Dec. 27, 2019, while Wu’s will be sentenced on March 13, 2020.
Deng and Wu were released on their own personal recognizance, but they were ordered to abide by their release conditions.
Assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe appeared for the U.S. government. Mark Hanson and Colin Thompson served as the court-appointed counsel for Deng and Wu, respectively.
In Deng’s case, he reportedly conspired with another person on June 21, 2017, to unlawfully produce an identification document.
The other individual would assist Deng to unlawfully obtain a CNMI driver’s license through the submission of false or fraudulent documents to the CNMI Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
With the individual’s assistance, Deng illegally obtained a CNMI driver’s license on June 21, 2017.
Deng used and possessed the driver’s license “in a manner that affected interstate commerce.”
According to court records, it was Federal Protective Service inspector Sean White who encountered Wu last Thursday, Dec. 12, that led to the defendant’s arrest after he presented a CNMI driver’s license when asked for identification.
According to Homeland Security Investigations Task Force officer Cristin Duenas, a check with the DHS systems revealed that Deng entered the CNMI on Nov. 19, 2016, and was granted CNMI-only conditional parole by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until Dec. 1, 2016.
DHS records also showed that Deng was administratively arrested on Feb. 22, 2019, and is in removal proceedings.
Duenas said that Deng confessed that a Chinese recruiter offered to get him a driver’s license for $1,500. Deng agreed and paid the recruiter. With the help of another person, Deng managed to get a driver’s license.
In Wu’s case, the defendant did not sign a plea deal, but entered a guilty plea right away. It was also White who intercepted Wu last Dec. 6.
DHS records confirmed that Wu entered the CNMI on Sept. 27, 2016 and was granted CNMI-only conditional parole by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until Sept. 30, 2016.
Wu reportedly confessed to paying a “known conspirator” 2,100 RMB or about $300 for help in getting his license.