Newcastle woman charged with immigrant-investor fraud

March 18, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. March 18, 2015

Authorities on Tuesday arrested a Newcastle woman on charges she and her former husband fraudulently obtained EB-5 immigrant-investor visas to enter the United States and laundered money from China to buy a home on the Eastside.

Shilan Zhao, 51, and her ex-husband Jianjun Qiao, 51, knowingly made false statements to get visas through the federal program, according to a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.

When the divorced couple applied for the investor visas, officials allege, they falsely claimed they were married and declared that the $500,000 they invested through EB-5 was obtained lawfully. Officials allege that Qiao embezzled the money from a Chinese grain warehouse he directed in Henan province.

Zhao appeared in federal court in Seattle on Tuesday and was held without bond, officials said. Qiao, also known as Feng Li, is being sought by U.S. authorities. If convicted, they could be sentenced to federal prison. Read more