One of the five who were indicted for allegedly harboring illegal Chinese workers was not a high level employee of construction company Nanjing Beilida, but was merely an ordinary worker.
Attorney Steven P. Pixley, counsel for defendant Xiufang Qi, pointed this out to counter allegations that his client was a Beilida supervisor.
Beilida, a construction company headquartered in Nanjing, China, was engaged in building Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s casino and resort in Garapan, the Imperial Pacific Resort.
In response to the U.S. Probation Office’s presentence investigation report about Qi, Pixley said that she worked at the construction site under the hot sun during the time of her employment on Saipan.
Pixley said that Qi, a 45-year-old Chinese national, lived in the barracks with other workers in Garapan and she did not have a nice office on Saipan or a nice place to live and her work conditions were difficult.
Pixley also pointed out that during her employment, Qi possessed a valid CW permit that authorized her to work in the NMI.
Last October, Qi pleaded to count two of the indictment charging her with harboring illegal aliens. Her sentencing will be on March 2, 2018.
Under the plea deal that Qi entered with the U.S. government, the sentencing guideline range is 27 months to 33 months of imprisonment. The imposition of fine, if any, is left to the court’s discretion.
Pixley said the parties agreed that Qi would be given an opportunity to provide “substantial assistance.”
Pixley said the presentence investigation report contains information regarding Yuanyou Hu who died on March 22, 2017, after falling approximately 24 feet from a scaffolding at the Imperial Pacific Resort construction site.
Pixley said while the facts in the presentence investigation report regarding Hu are not specifically contested, Qi was not charged with being connected with Hu’s death. Pixley said that Hu was not being supervised by Qi.
The lawyer said Qi’s childhood was extremely difficult as her family in China was very poor and everyone in her village struggled to meet basic needs. In fact, one of Qi’s grandparents died of starvation, Pixley said, and Qi herself completed only three months of schooling.
According to the plea agreement, between Feb. 7, 2017 and March 22, 2017, 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 four Chinese nationals Chunsheng Zhang, Wei Li, Chengxiang Wang, and Yongbo Sun—who had unlawfully remained after their conditional parole had expired.
Aliens admitted as tourist 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 charged 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 continuing until March 31, 2017, Zhao harbored 15 illegal aliens.
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. Zhao was slapped with a six-month prison term.