Couple allegedly harbored two illegal aliens for cash

Parents agree to pay $15K-$20K for child to study on Saipan; ‘uncle’ paid $7K to marry US citizen

Criminal charges have been filed in federal court against a couple who allegedly got paid to harbor two illegal Chinese aliens, including a child they enrolled at a public school.

The Homeland Security Investigations Task Force filed the criminal complaint on Thursday, charging Francisco Tydingco and Lili Zhang Tydingco with two counts of harboring an illegal alien.

Task force officer Jesse Dubrall served the summons on the Tydingco couple at their house in Dandan on Saturday.

The couple did not show up at their initial appearance hearing yesterday, prompting U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona to issue a bench warrant for their arrest.

A U.S. Probation Officer told the court that attempts to contact the couple were unsuccessful.

Assistant U.S. attorney Russell Lorfing moved to unseal the case. The judge granted the request.

Dubrall stated in his affidavit that the Tydingcos harbored and shielded the minor child and Rongxue Liu so they would not be detected by immigration authorities.

Dubrall said the Division of Youth Services removed the child from the home of the Tydingcos on Feb. 19, 2015. Four days later, DYS filed a petition to obtain temporary wardship of the child, alleging that the child would be in imminent danger if left in the custody of the Tydingco couple.

On April 14, 2015, the Office of the Attorney General contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office and informed it of possible immigration fraud involving the Tydingcos. The U.S. Attorney’s Office subsequently relayed the information to Homeland Security Investigations.

Dubrall said the child’s passport lists her as a Chinese national, while her I-94 Form notes that she arrived on Saipan on Sept. 28, 2013, and was paroled into the U.S. until Nov. 4, 2013.

Dubrall said that on April 28, 2015, he obtained two reports from the Department of Public Safety regarding an interview with the child and Liu conducted on Feb. 20, 2015.

In that interview, the child disclosed that she stayed with the Tydingcos at their residence in Dandan upon her arrival on Saipan.

Liu, the child’s purported uncle, stated in the interview that he paid Lili Tydingco $7,000 in exchange for helping him enter into a fake marriage and obtain a green card.

On May 6, 2015, HSI special agents conducted a video conferencing interview with the purported biological parents of the child.

The parents said they were introduced to Lili Tydingco through a mutual friend. They said Lili Tydingco informed them that their child could go to school in the U.S. and get a green card.

The parents said they agreed to pay Lili Tydingco between $15,000 and $20,000 to take their child to Saipan and get her a green card.

The Tydingcos traveled to China to pick up the girl.

A Public School System registration form for the child dated Oct. 9, 2013, lists Francisco Tydingco as the girl’s father and Lili Tydingco as her mother. In another section of the registration form, Francisco Tydingco was listed as the uncle of the child.

During an interview by HSI special agents on June 16, 2015, Liu stated that he is a Chinese citizen and that he is the uncle of the child.

Liu disclosed that he arrived on Saipan on July 25, 2014, and that upon his arrival, Francisco Tydingco picked him up at the airport and drove him to their house in Dandan.

Liu said he resided at the Tydingcos from July 25, 2014, until Oct. 10, 2014. After arriving on Saipan, he said he paid Lili Tydingco $7,000 to arrange for him to marry a U.S. citizen.

Dubrall said during his and HSI special agent’s interview with Lili Tydingco on Oct. 1, 2015, she stated that she traveled to China in September 2013 and came back to Saipan with the child, who is her friend’s daughter.

According to Lili Tydingco, the child’s parents agreed to pay her $100 per month to cover daily expenses for the child. After four or five months, Lili Tydingco asked the parents to pay her $120 per month because $100 wasn’t enough to cover the daily expenses.

Lili Tydingco said she saw the child’s passport and the child’s I-94 Form, which showed she was only paroled in until November 2013.

The child stayed with the Tydingcos for a total of one and a half years. During this time, the girl was enrolled in public school.

Lili Tydingco denied promising the girl’s parents that she would help her obtain a green card. She also stated that the child’s uncle traveled to Saipan and stayed with her and Francisco Tydingco for several days.

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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