Qiong Lu Pua, a woman who was slapped with a 12-month and one day imprisonment for orchestrating two sham marriages so that her brother and friend could obtain green cards, has $70,000 in unexplained income, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Assistant U.S. attorney Russell H. Lorfing, counsel for the U.S. government, disclosed that Pua has $70,000 in explained income deposited in her account in 2014 and 2015.
Lorfing said with her money, the defendant has the financial means to flee.
The federal prosecutor briefly discussed Pua’s alleged unexplained income in the U.S. government’s opposition to Pua’s motion for her release pending the outcome of her appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Lorfing said the defendant’s ties to a foreign country, extensive contacts in China, and the significant sums of unexplained income suggest the real possibility that she is a flight risk.
The prosecutor said while Pua has remained at liberty throughout the trial, she has an additional incentive to flee now that she is facing incarceration for the next 12 months and because her daughter has recently relocated to China.
The defendant maintains citizenship with the People’s Republic of China
Lorfing said Pua has not raised a substantial issue of law or fact that is likely to result in the reversal of her conviction or a sentence that is shorter than the time necessary to resolve her appeal.
Pua is appealing the Ninth Circuit to reverse the U.S. District Court for the NMI’s denial of her motion for a judgment of acquittal.
She is asking the Ninth Circuit to also reverse the federal court’s findings and application of the sentencing guidelines and the 12-month and one day prison sentence imposed on her.
Pua, through counsel Mark Hanson, also requested the District Court to allow her release pending the result of her appeal.
Pua was sentenced last Jan. 29, but allowed out of custody on conditions pending notification by the U.S. Marshal Service that the Bureau of Prisons has designated a facility and that she is to report to begin serving her term of incarceration.
Hanson argued, among other things, that in light of the nature and substance of the issues raised on appeal, the court should grant Pua’s continued release pending the Ninth Circuit’s decision.
Hanson said Pua does not pose a risk of flight and is not a danger to the community, as she was not convicted of a crime of violence.