Another Beilida staff pleads guilty

Another staff of Beilida Overseas has pleaded guilty to harboring illegal aliens who were made to work at the Pacific Imperial International CNMI LLC’s casino and resort construction in Garapan.

Xiufang Qi, who appeared with her lawyer, Steven P. Pixley, pleaded guilty in federal court last Friday to harboring illegal aliens.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of not more than five years imprisonment; a fine of not more than $250,000; and not more than five years of probation.

Under the plea deal, the sentencing guideline range is 27 months to 33 months of imprisonment.

The imposition of a fine is up to the court.

Qi will be sentenced on March 2, 2018, at 9am.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona was presiding over the case. Assistant U.S. attorney James Benedetto appeared for the U.S. government.

Qi was accused of supervising a large number of aliens who working at the Best Sunshine casino and resort/hotel construction site between Feb. 7, 2017 and March 22, 2017

Among them were over 100 aliens—including four Chinese nationals: Chunsheng Zhang, Wei Li, Chengxiang Wang, and Yongbo Sun—who had remained even after their parole expired.

Aliens admitted as tourists under the conditional parole program are not leglly authorized to work, even during the period of their conditional parole.

Qi knew that the four and many other workers under her supervision were in violation of the law, since those workers were referred to in company documents as “hei gong” or undocumented workers.

Despite knowing their immigration statuses, Qi aided and abetted the illegal workers by giving them work, telling them not to go to work whenever government inspectors were present, and generally making sure that immigration authorities won’t detect the presence of these workers.

Whenever she meets production quotas, Qi would get a bonus.

Qi was arrested on April 6, 2017, and was with one count of harboring illegal aliens.

At a detention hearing last April 12, the court allowed Qi’s release from custody.

Qi and her co-defendant Hongwei Ma are staff of Beilida Overseas. The two other defendants are Beilida Overseas president Hui Lu and Beilida’s Wencao Guo.

A separate indictment charged MCC International project manager Yuqing Zhao with harboring illegal aliens.

Of the five indicted, only Lu has yet to be arrested.

On Feb. 7 through March 22, 2017, Ma, Lu, Guo, and Qi allegedly harbored six illegal aliens.

A separate indictment alleges that beginning on Aug. 1, 2016, and up to March 31, 2017, Zhao harbored 15 illegal aliens.

MCC International was the construction contractor for Imperial Pacific. Beilida was one of the subcontractors.

Guo and Zhao have already pleaded guilty. Guo’s sentencing will be on Feb. 16, 2018. Zhao was slapped with a six-month prison term.

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Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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