Immigration Fraudsters Sent Up the River

     SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - A San Gabriel "immigration consultant" was sentenced to 4½ years in prison for conspiracy and aggravated identity theft, and an employee was sentenced to a year and a day, federal prosecutors said.
     Haoren Ma, 50, of San Gabriel prepared and filed hundreds of fraudulent political asylum applications for Chinese nationals who made "phony claims of religious persecution," the U.S. Attorney's office said.
     Ma owned and operated New Arrival Immigration Service. He was sentenced for conspiracy, immigration fraud and aggravated identity theft. His employee, Minghan Dong, 49, also of San Gabriel, was sentenced to a year and a day for conspiracy.
     They charged as much as $6,500 a pop to file the phony claims, and "provided their clients with detailed written materials and audio tapes on Christianity to help them prepare for their asylum interviews," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
     They gave clients the phony prep materials even when they knew they were Buddhists, prosecutors said. They said Ma and Dong filed more than 800 phony asylum applications.