Feds raid 3 San Gabriel Valley locations in U.S. visa fraud investigation

- FBI and Homeland Security agents raided an office on the first floor of the Hilton at 10 a.m. Wednesday in San Gabriel.

It is the office of California Investment Immigration Fund. Authorities suspect it was a front for a multi-million dollar scheme aimed at fraudulently taking money from unwitting foreign nationals looking for a way to get a visa and US residency.

Besides the office in the Hilton, agents raided two homes -- one in Arcadia and the other in El Monte. These raids were not to arrest anyone, but to gather information that could be used in arrests later.

Authorities walked out with some 30 boxes of documents and several laptops.

According to a recently unsealed, 136-page affidavit, the investigation focuses on three people accused of operating the alleged visa scheme.

According to the documents, the scheme involved the E-5 visa program which offers foreign nationals legal residency in the US in exchange for investments of at least $500,000 in U.S. businesses that create at least ten American jobs. 

Prosecutors allege that the suspects convinced more than 100 Chinese nationals to invest more than $50 million with the California Investment Immigration Fund. But rather than properly investing the money, they are accused of stealing millions of dollars for personal use, including buying million dollar homes. 

It’s also said that several people who took advantage of the program to come here were fugitives on China's 100 most wanted list. Three were ultimately issued visas under the program.

Again, this is a search for information in a federal investigation.

"At this point there are no plans to execute any arrests. And, no charges have been filed yet,” FBI Special Agent Cathy Kramer said.

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