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View Full Version : Man recruited fake army in immigration scam, prosecutors say



Odysseus
04-24-2011, 01:06 PM
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/13/local/la-me-04-13-fake-army-20110413

David Deng is accused of running a fraudulent military recruitment center in Temple City, where he charged Chinese nationals a fee to join a "special forces reserve" unit that he said would help their chances of becoming U.S. citizens.

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2011-04/60873363.jpg
Authorities say David Deng, shown with his recruits, charged members $300 (FBI)

April 13, 2011|By Andrew Blankstein, Ching-Ching Ni and Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
He called himself the "supreme commander."

From a storefront in Temple City decorated to look like a military recruiting center, David Deng raised an army of more than 100 Chinese nationals and claimed they were members of an elite U.S. special forces unit, authorities said.

Together, they marched in local Chinese New Year parades and even received a special military tour in uniform at the USS Midway museum in San Diego. Chinese-language newspapers ran photos of the troops with prominent community leaders.

But prosecutors on Tuesday charged that Deng's "U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve" was actually a huge immigration scam that preyed on Chinese immigrants in the San Gabriel Valley desperate to become citizens.

Authorities allege that Deng charged members of his "army" $300 to $450 to join plus an annual $120 renewal fee. He told them that joining the group would increase their chances of becoming U.S. citizens, according to court papers. The more money they donated to the organization, he allegedly told them, the better their chances of becoming citizens.

The recruits were typically low-wage workers toiling away at Chinese restaurants. Most were from the L.A. area, but there were also recruits from as far away as Georgia, officials said. They were provided with fake documents and military ID cards as well as phony uniforms, apparently purchased at military surplus stores.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the investigation began three years ago after local police began noticing that some people pulled over during traffic stops produced fake military identifications. Last year, one Chinese-language newspaper reported that an Alhambra taxi driver was arrested near Los Angeles International Airport after producing counterfeit military identification while trying to get out of a traffic stop.

Investigators learned that the recruits were told that the military IDs could be used to avoid getting traffic tickets and to receive certain types of military benefits and discounts, Eimiller said.

Some of the recruits were so convinced that they were part of the U.S. military that they actually visited real Army recruiting centers and tried to pay their monthly dues directly to the U.S. government, Eimiller said. That was another tipoff when investigators began looking into the group.

Local Chinese American leaders on Wednesday said they were shocked that a group that was such a familiar presence in the community is now being accused of being a fraud.

Sonnabend
04-24-2011, 08:18 PM
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the investigation began three years ago after local police began noticing that some people pulled over during traffic stops produced fake military identifications.

It took them THREE YEARS to investigate fake military id's?

WTF????????????? :confused::eek::mad:

CueSi
04-24-2011, 09:41 PM
This is so sad... someone took advantage of a desire to be a citizen and used a uniform to do it. . . that's just awful.

~QC

eagleexpress
04-24-2011, 11:49 PM
I feel sorry that they were taken advantage of in such a way

txradioguy
04-25-2011, 12:24 AM
It took them THREE YEARS to investigate fake military id's?

WTF????????????? :confused::eek::mad:

Fear of unfounded accusations trumps doing the right thing every time.