Ex-Beilida staff sentenced to 239 days of time served


One of five defendants charged with harboring illegal alien workers was sentenced in federal court on Friday to 239 days of time served.

Xiufang Qi shall then be immediately deported.

Qi was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine, which shall be taken from the $10,000 cash bail that she posted and to pay a $100 special assessment fee.

The remaining $5,900 will be paid to the law office of Steven P. Pixley, who is the private counsel for Qi, according to U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona.

Assistant U.S. attorney James Benedetto told the court that the $11,000 seized from Qi at the Saipan airport before her arrest will be released. He said the money will be given as well to the law office of Pixley.

Benedetto had recommended that the defendant be sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment.

Pixley had recommended that his client be sentenced to eight months, with credit for time served.

Pixley had informed the court that Qi has been experiencing severe anxiety and depression as a result of her arrest and detention. Pixley also stated that Qi was not a high level employee of construction company, Nanjing Beilida.

Pixley said the charge flowed from Qi’s employment with Beilida, a construction company in Nanjing, China. The illegal Chinese workers were found to have entered the CNMI as tourists and were working at Pacific Imperial International CNMI LLC’s ongoing construction of a casino and resort in Garapan.

Pixley said Qi, a 45-year-old Chinese national, lived in the barracks with other workers in Garapan and she did not have a nice office or a nice place to live.

The lawyer said during her employment, Qi possessed a valid CW permit authorizing her to work in the NMI.

Last October, Qi pleaded to count two of the indictment charging her with harboring illegal aliens.

Pixley said the presentence investigation report contains information regarding Yuanyou Hu who died on March 22, 2017, after falling approximately 24 feet from scaffolding at the Imperial Pacific Hotel construction site.

Pixley said while the facts in the presentence investigation report regarding Hu are not contested, Qi was not charged with being connected with Hu’s tragic death.

Pixley said Hu was not being supervised by Qi.

According to the factual basis of the plea agreement, between Feb. 7, 2017 and March 22, 2017 in the District of the NMI, Qi supervised a large number of aliens working at the Best Sunshine casino and resort/hotel construction site.

Among the aliens supervised by Qi were over 100 aliens—including Chinese nationals Chunsheng Zhang, Wei Li, Chengxiang Wang, and Yongbo Sun—who had unlawfully remained in the U.S. after their conditional parole had expired.

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

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

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.

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

Guo and Zhao had already pleaded guilty. Guo was sentenced to one year and six months imprisonment, while Zhao was slapped with a six-month prison term.

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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