(STL.News) – A federal grand jury today indicted Zhiyang Yang, age 60, formerly of Silver Spring, Maryland, on federal charges for bribing an immigration official. Yang will have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, but no date has been set. Yang remains detained on a federal criminal complaint previously filed in this case.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Moreland of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR); and Special Agent in Charge Ray Villanueva of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.
According to the criminal complaint, on three occasions between September 27 and October 25, 2019, Yang, a Chinese national who is illegally present in the United States, made bribe payments of $100, $200, and $700 in order to secure more favorable conditions of required reporting to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The indictment alleges that on February 14, 2020, Yang provided $5,000 to an undercover HSI agent as a down payment in order to obtain an illegal Permanent Resident Card, which would reflect that Yang had legal status in the United States.
If convicted, Yang faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for bribery of a public official. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Neither an indictment nor a criminal complaint is a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment or criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended ICE OPR and HSI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Wright, who is prosecuting the case.