7-day prison sentence for man in document fraud


An overstaying Chinese tourist who is accused of obtaining his CNMI driver’s license using fraudulent papers pleaded guilty last Tuesday and was slapped with a prison term of seven days, with credit for time served.

Ercang Yang pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to unlawfully produce an identification document, which carries a maximum penalty of not more than 15 years in prison.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona also placed Yang on one year of supervised release. That included a condition that he will be deported as soon as he is released from prison.

He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine and $100 special assessment fee.

U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested Yang Tuesday last week.

According to the factual basis of the plea agreement, Yang conspired with another person on July 29, 2019, to obtain a CNMI driver’s license by presenting a falsified U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-797 as evidence of his lawful status in the CNMI.

With the other person’s assistance, Yang got a fraudulently-obtained CNMI driver’s license on July 29, 2019. He presented the fraudulent driver’s license to a Federal Protective Services inspector last Sept. 10.

Yang used the driver’s license in working as a taxi driver.

Assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe appeared as counsel for the U.S. government. David G. Banes served as court-appointed counsel for Yang.

HSI filed the complaint against Yang for allegedly producing a fraudulently obtained identification document to law enforcement personnel.

In his affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Homeland Security Investigations special agent Erwin T. Fejeran stated that it was Federal Protective Services inspector Sean White who first encountered Yang.

Fejeran said White was performing security patrol of federal government facilities last Sept. 10 when he saw a Toyota Camry make an abrupt turn into the shoulder of Chalan Pale Arnold Road adjacent to the Mariana Heights II building and park.

Fejeran said DHS records confirmed that Yang is a Chinese national who entered the CNMI on Dec. 28, 2015, and was granted CNMI-only conditional parole by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until Jan. 14, 2016.

Fejeran said Yang overstayed his authorized parole date and is subject for deportation.

According to the DHS systems, the agent said, the receipt number listed on Yang’s immigration form I-797A was valid but registered to another individual and not assigned to Yang.

A records check conducted on Yang’s name and date of birth revealed no immigration petitions for him. Based on this result, Fejeran said, it was determined that Yang’s I-797 was fraudulent.

Mainly through White, HSI agents have lately arrested several overstaying Chinese tourists who were caught driving illegal taxis using driver’s licenses obtained through fraudulent documents.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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