Los Angeles – LAWFUEL- The Law News Wire – IRS–Criminal Investigatio…

Los Angeles – LAWFUEL- The Law News Wire – IRS–Criminal Investigation and Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Xi Chaidez yesterday morning in Los Angeles based on an arrest warrant issued in connection with a grand jury indictment returned on March 28, 2007.

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles previously indicted Chaidez and Mei Zhang for their involvement in a conspiracy to sell a piece of real property that had been previously seized by the United States and was the subject of civil forfeiture proceedings in federal court.

According to the indictment filed by the United States government in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Xi Chaidez, formerly known as Xi Zhang and also known as Sunny Zhang, along with her co-conspirator Mei Zhang, transferred the title to a real property located at 3320 Big Dalton Avenue, Baldwin Park, California to a third party without any permission or consent by the court in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 2232(b). The real property was the subject of a civil forfeiture action filed by the United States government in the district court and was subject to the in rem jurisdiction of the court. Chaidez and Zhang, in attempting to place the property outside reach of the United States government for purposes of a civil forfeiture proceeding, impaired the court’s in rem jurisdiction over the real property by transferring the title to a third-party and by liquidating the equity they had in the property for their own benefit.

In a Verified Complaint for Forfeiture detailing the investigation leading to the seizure of the Big Dalton Avenue property, filed on June 1, 2004 in Los Angeles, Shi Dong Zhang is alleged to have fabricated and sold to customer’s false “Chinese Notarial Certificates” from his business called Mainland China Notary, located at 9646 East Garvey Avenue, South El Monte, California, since June 1999. The “Chinese Notarial Certificates” sold by Shi Dong Zhang purported to be official documents from the government of the People’s Republic of China. Shi Dong Zhang’s customers used these documents to apply for immigration benefits with the United States government. The complaint details that the money Shi Dong Zhang earned producing the false “Chinese Notarial Certificates” was traced to the purchase, refinancing, and to the mortgage payments made in connection with the Big Dalton Avenue property. Accordingly, the property was deemed forfeitable as property which constituted or was derived from proceeds traceable to several criminal violations, including fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents and information, bank fraud, and money laundering.

The complaint for forfeiture details that, on January 28, 2003, Shi Dong Zhang was arrested in connection with his fabrication of the false “Chinese Notarial Certificates”. On or about April 19, 2004, Shi Dong Zhang fled the United States, going to China.

On March 7, 2007, a Consent Judgment filed with respect to the Big Dalton Avenue property orders that $177,521.27 is to be paid to the United States Treasury through a check, drawn on the account of Security Union Title Insurance Company, representing the amount of equity taken out of the property by Xi Zhang and Mei Zhang after the government recorded its Lis Pendens (or notice of pending action) and without any consent by the government or the court. The judgment further orders that the abovementioned sum shall be forfeited to the government as a substitute asset in place of the previously mentioned equity that Chaidez and Zhang took out of the Big Dalton Avenue property.

After making her initial appearance yesterday afternoon, Chaidez was released on $50,000 bond. Chaidez’ post indictment arraignment is scheduled for Monday, May 21, 2007.

Both Chaidez and Zhang face a statutory maximum of 10 years imprisonment if convicted of all counts in the indictment.

The investigation of Chaidez and Zhang was conducted by agents with Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

An indictment is a charging document which contains allegations of violations committed by defendants. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty before a court of law.

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