Ten people have been indicted for allegedly posing as spouses to obtain visas for Chinese and Vietnamese nationals, authorities said.
Some of the defendants, who come from the Little Saigon area of Westminster and the San Gabriel Valley, had petitioned for as many as 10 spouses, said Frank Johnston, assistant agent in charge in Los Angeles for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The investigation began after immigration officers noticed the same U.S. citizens listed as petitioners for several spouses from China.
The petitioners were recruited by facilitators who trolled casinos and card clubs looking for people who lost large sums of money or needed quick cash, authorities said. The amount paid to petitioners varied, but Johnston said they earned as much as $50,000.
Eight of the suspects are of Vietnamese descent, one is Chinese-American and one is Indonesian.