By Alexander Dworkowitz
A former immigration inspector from Flushing has been arrested on charges of defrauding aliens seeking entry into the United States from China out of more than $575,000, the U.S. Department of Justice announced last week.
According to the complaint, Tin Yat Chin, 44, who lives with his family in the Queensboro Hill section of Flushing at 56-44 148th St., told Chinese aliens that he could obtain work visas for them in exchange for money. Instead, Chin simply took the money and broke off contact with the aliens, the complaint said.
If convicted, Chin, who is being held without bail, faces up to three years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and an order of restitution of at least $575,000, said the Justice Department.
The complaint states that Chin was employed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1986 to 1994 as an inspector at Kennedy Airport.
According to the Justice Department, a federal grand jury indicted Chin on seven counts of extorting money and jewelry from Chinese nationals seeking political asylum in the United States in 1993. Chin pleaded guilty to one felony count of extortion, was sentenced to a year in jail and had his employment with the INS terminated, said the Justice Department.
“Tin Yat Chin twice victimized members of his own ethnic community through various criminal schemes: first as an INS inspector, shaking down Chinese nationals and seeking political asylum, and now as a fraudster, pretending to be an INS attorney who could deliver work visas for Chinese nationals, scamming over $500,000 from his victims in the process,” said Alan Vinegrad, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
The current complaint alleges that Chin, who used the names “Tan C. Dao” and “Jun Li” as aliases, falsely told the Chinese nationals that he was recruiting for an electric company in Connecticut from August 1998 to August 1999 while working out of his apartment in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
According to the complaint, Chin had two people deliver the money from 42 people, telling the two that the money was necessary to cover fees, air fare and hotels. After giving the money to Chin, the two never heard from Chin again, said the complaint.
“[The] arrest reveals that America’s laws protect all individuals living in the United States, citizens and non-citizens alike,” said Ralph Paige, a special agent from the Justice Department.
In Queensboro Hill, a longtime neighbor of Chin’s said he knew Chin as a model citizen.
“We’re civil to each other,” said the neighbor who did not wish to give his name. “He’s a nice guy.”
The neighbor, who has been raking leaves in front of Chin’s residence in his absence, said he called Chin “James” because he could not pronounce his name.
“He’s a pretty clean-cut guy as far as I know,” said the man. “One of the reasons I got along with him is because I never asked him many questions.”
Reach Reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.