Social Security Card Crime Ring: Arrest in CNMI

September 6, 2009

The FBI arrested Ms. Yingzi Xu for purchasing CNMI-issued social security cards to sell to illegal immigrants in the U.S. mainland. I covered this story in a March 14, 2009 post, Social Security Cards for Sale & Fake Passports, in a February 27, 2009 post, 586: Saipan Connections to Chicago Crime Ring, and in a January 12, 2008 post, Crime Syndicate has CNMI Ties.

From The Saipan Tribune:
The FBI arrested Miss Yingzi Xu, a Chinese, last Aug. 3, but the indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court for the NMI only on Thursday.

Saipan Tribune learned from sources that Xu allegedly purchased 165 SS cards from an undercover FBI agent for a total of $21,450.

The indictment charged Xu with attempt and conspiracy to commit identification document fraud, possession with intent to use or transfer five or more documents, and buying a SS card and possessing a SS card with intent to sell.

At yesterday's hearing, Xu pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Judge Alex R. Munson set no bail at this time for the defendant and remanded her to the custody of the U.S. Marshal. The jury trial was set for Oct. 5, 2009.
The sealed complaint was filed on August 3, 2009 and a three page indictment was filed last On September 3, 2009. It charges Xu with three felony counts: one count of conspiracy, one count of unlawful transfer of identification, and one count of buying and intending to sell social security cards.

Attorney Steve Pixley is the court appointed attorney for the defendant and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Schuler is the prosecutor for the case. U.S. District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands Judge Alex Munson ordered the trial set for October 5, 2009.

From the indictment:
On or about February 16, 2009 and continuing through August 3, 2009, in the District of the Northern Mariana Islands and elsewhere, defendant YINGZI XU, with others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, knowingly and intentionally attempted and conspired with each other to possess with the intent to use unlawfully and transfer unlawfully five or more identification documents, namely United States social security cards, not issued lawfully for the use of the defendant. The identification documents were issued by or under the authority of the United States, and the transfer, possession, and use of the identification documents were in or affected interstate or foreign commerce. The offense involved the transfer of an identification document that is an identification document issued by or under the authority of the United States, and the offense involved the transfer of more than five identification documents.

On or about February 16, 2009, within the District of the Northern Mariana Islands, defendant YINGZI XU knowingly aided and abetted the purchase of and purchased a United States social security card issued by the Commissioner of Social Security, and knowingly aided and abetted the possession of and possessed a United States social security card with the intent to sell the social security card.

In January 2009, I reported that a crime syndicate was busted in the East Coast of the U.S. in the post, Crime Syndicate has CNMI Ties. The investigation led to 17 being arrested.

The Washington Post (January 2009) revealed:
The agents then met a friend of Cho's named Dong Young "Dereck" Shin, 47, who was in the business of selling Social Security cards, court records say. The cards were issued to Chinese nationals in the Mariana Islands to allow them to work, Ramsey said, but recipients were selling them, sometimes with passports of family information.

The Social Security cards were then used in the continental United States to obtain driver's licenses and credit cards. And then mortgages. Special Agent Ashan Benedict said people were able to establish good credit scores by making timely payments for months or years, all under false identities.

The investigation also uncovered a Department of Motor Vehicles employee in Illinois who was knowingly providing fake driver's licenses to people, often from Virginia. Those people would then trade the Illinois license for a legitimate Virginia license.

"Identity fraud really is a national security matter," Benedict said. "They're living here as a normal citizen. Is that the only thing they're going to do? Or are they a sleeper cell, are they up for criminal activity?"
The syndicate stretched to Chicago where thousands of social security cards starting with the number '586' were were being sold to illegals wishing to get a driver's license. In February 2009, I reported that the Chicago arm of the syndicate was busted in a post entitled, 586: Saipan Connections to Chicago Crime Syndicate.

From the February 27, 2009 post:
From the 156-page Criminal Complaint filed today in the US District Court of Northern District of Illinois (emphasis added):
Further investigation of the social security account cards utilized by this criminal enterprise has revealed that a large portion of the cards were originally obtained, through legal means by Chinese nationals temporarily working in Saipan. Upon the return of these temporary workers to the PRC or while still in Saipan, their issued social security account cards were collected and transported in bulk to the U.S. for eventual use by this criminal enterprise.
From the Atlanta Examiner:
The identity kits included a counterfeit or genuine but altered Chinese passport, prosecutors said. The passports were matched to legitimate Social Security numbers, many acquired by Chinese nationals working on the Pacific island of Saipan.

A photo of the buyer was inserted in the passport along with one of the legitimate Social Security numbers and bogus proof of residency such as a utility bill, prosecutors said. They were then taken to driver's license facilities.


Anonymous said...

So who shall we blame for this Wendy? Governor Fitial? Cinta Kaipat? Who Wendy? We need to blame somebody for this! How about blaming the Bishop for this? Let us tell the US Congress Saipan needs help to fight this crime! Let us have the US Congress take over our Police Department! Hey, we need to blame somebody! Anybody!!

Wendy said...

To the hostile anonymous commenter at 7:57

Blame whomever you want or you could work to fix the problems. Your choice. The first step in correcting problems is identifying and exposing them. The second is to advocate for change and correction.

Anonymous said...

Let's blame noni 7:57.

Anonymous said...

No need to take over our police department. But it is great to know that the FBI that is the Federal Bureau of Investigations was able to help all of us in the CNMI weed out these criminals. Man those feds aren't all bad are they? Well I guess it depends on your perspective. The crooks probably don't much care for them. Noni 7:57 obviously doesn't either. Hmmm, could noni 7:57 be a crook?

Anonymous said...

Social Security fraud is rampant in the US. Of all the scandals that Wendy can bring up involving her favorite Republicans, she ignores the one liberal democrat who contributed millions to the Democratic Party and helped bring thousands of innocent people to their knees, that's right Wendy his name is Bernie Madoff. Ignore this though, he's really just a misunderstood liberal.

Anonymous said...

noni 2:47

Who are you to tell Wendy what to write about? get your own damn blog or comment on topic.

Anonymous said...

Federalize DPS or give federal agents local jurisdiction over thje whole island, or both.

Kilili? CNMI Legislature?

Anonymous said...

6:23 why would DPS need to be federalized and why are you even suggesting that?

Anonymous said...

These criminals are practicing terrorism and don't even know it.

Anonymous said...

at least they should teach DPS ethics, and have most of them join weight watchers. Hey maybe that should go for the rest of the Govt. also.