A woman accused of setting up two fake Mountain View tech companies as part of a bogus F-1 visa fraud scheme now faces prison time and deportation after pleading guilty to her crimes.
NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit first reported the arrest of Weiyn “Kelly” Huang and her companies “Findream” and “Sinocontech” in April 2019, after the FBI charged her with conspiracy to commit visa fraud.
After pleading guilty on December 20, 2019, in US District Court in Chicago, Huang now faces between 37 months to 46 months in prison under Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
A Federal Judge is scheduled to sentence Huang in March and could depart from the recommended guidelines and issue a sentence either more lenient or stricter than listed in the plea agreement filed in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
In court, Huang also entered guilty pleas on behalf of her companies Findream LLC and Sinocontech LLC.
According to the court documents Huang, a citizen and resident of the People’s Republic of China, set up, owned and was listed as president of Findream LLC and Sinocontech LLC which listed multiple addresses including one at a shared workspace in Mountain View.
Records also show Huang listed addresses in New York and Chicago for her companies even though neither had a physical presence there either.
Huang agreed that she set up the companies so that foreign university and college students, mostly in the Chicago area, could extend their stays after graduating under the F-1 Visa OPT program which allows and extra year to study and work and extends up to two more additional years if the student has a degree and is employed in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) field.
The plea agreement states Huang created the companies with the purpose to falsify I-20, I-129 and I-983 paperwork for F-1 non-immigrant visas under F-1’s Optional Practical Training (OPT) program as well as documents for non-immigrant H-1B visas.
The plea agreement states Huang received as little as $200 from one student/customer for her to provide him a false Findream employment offer letter to as much as $9,000 for false H-1B visa employment information.
Court records also show Huang falsified payroll records and even went as far as setting up direct deposit records, as well as issued fraudulent offer letters, verifications of employment letters, payroll and 1099-MISC tax forms, all when she knew that none of these customers worked either at Findream or Sinocontech.
At least 2,685 different customers paid either Findream or Sinocontech to fraudulently list them as employees.
The plea agreement also states Huang took in more than $1.5 Million and profited approximately $800,000 from the scheme.
Court records say the scheme lasted from September 6, 2013 until April 1, 2019.
NBC Bay Area tried to reach Huang several times, both through her attorneys, her family and at her first court appearance, directly. Each time she has declined comment.
Following her arrest, NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit started researching other companies listed in public records by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as employing F-1 Visa holders through the OPT and STEM programs.
NBC Bay Area found thousands of other F-1 Visa holders listed as employees for at least 13 companies which our research showed appeared to be fake or fraudulent.
A few days after that story aired in December 2019, one of those companies filed paperwork in Nevada to legally dissolve.