Convicted Chinese national in test-taking scheme asks for deportation; U.S. wants jail

Jul 28, 2015 by

By Torsten Ove –

A Chinese student at a Boston University who admitted to procuring a fake passport to have someone else take a graduate school entrance test for him has asked to be sent back to China as punishment.

But the federal government says he should first be imprisoned in the U.S. as an example to others trying to cheat their way into American universities.

Biyuan Li, 25, was among 15 Chinese nationals charged in May in the U.S. and China with scheming to have impostors take college and grad school exams at Pittsburgh-area testing sites using doctored passports prepared in China.

He was the first to enter a guilty plea two weeks ago and is set to be sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Federal sentencing guidelines call for six months to a year of incarceration, which could be any combination of prison or home detention.

Li, who came to America on a student visa to study at Northeastern University, is arguing that the government should deport him instead, saying that he’s not a threat to anyone and sending him to prison in America would serve no purpose.

His lawyer, Samir Sarna, said in pre-sentence filings that his client’s role in the overall scheme was minor, since he was not an organizer or one of the test-taking impostors but a beneficiary of the plot. Mr. Sarna likened his client to a drug user who has less culpability in a narcotics prosecution than those who make or sell the drugs.

He said being removed and losing his chance at an American education will be punishment enough.

“He has brought a great deal of stress, embarrassment, sorrow, remorse and financial waste on himself and his family,” Mr. Sarna said.

The U.S. attorney’s office, however, asked U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti to sentence him in the guideline range as a warning to others who might try to cheat their way into American schools.

“Above all else, this case is about general deterrence,” Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kitchen told the judge. “It should be without question that the defendant is one of many who engage in academic dishonesty, particularly those foreigners who engage test-taking companies to hire impostors to take college entrance exams for them.”

Li used an impostor’s exam score to try to gain entry into graduate programs at Carnegie Mellon University, Johns Hopkins, Brown, Cornell and other top-notch schools.

Mr. Kitchen also said that the creation and use of fake passports is a threat to national security. Li paid $5,990 to a Chinese service to have a bogus passport made, and Mr. Kitchen said a jail term will send the message that the U.S. will protect its immigration admissions process.

The accused lead defendant in the conspiracy, Han Tong of Pittsburgh, is also set to enter a plea Wednesday. Federal agents say he was one of five test-takers accused in the scheme, once flying to California to take an SAT, and acted as a facilitator in Pittsburgh.

Prosecutors said that in one case, another accused member of the conspiracy, Yudong Zhang, sent a photocopy of his girlfriend Yue Zou’s passport to Mr. Tong in Pittsburgh for use by Yunlin Sun, 24, of Berlin, Pa., who took an SAT and English test posing as Ms. Zou.

Ms. Sun is set to plead guilty next month.

Source: Convicted Chinese national in test-taking scheme asks for deportation; U.S. wants jail | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.